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A local internet service provider is going regional, thanks to $87.8 million in funding from the federal government.
GeoLinks, an 8-year-old Camarillo-based ISP that primarily serves businesses and rural areas, is among several companies that will receive funding from the Federal Communication Commission’s Connect America Fund Phase II Auction. The company plans on using the capital to bring high-speed internet to rural communities previously lacking connectivity.
The first phase of the fund was held around five years ago and catered to larger, national ISPs.
Money from the fund’s second phase, which totals around $1.5 billion, will be paid out in monthly installments over a 10-year period. GeoLinks will receive $731,000 monthly starting in May, according to CEO Skyler Ditchfield. The company is primarily focused on providing internet service to rural regions and businesses that may be overlooked by the nation’s larger ISPs.
Ditchfield said money from the Connect America fund would allow GeoLinks to create a residential division but said the focus would still be on primarily rural areas.
“It enables connectivity in rural parts of California,” Ditchfield said. “People that live in those locations can try new business ventures, educate themselves better and enable a lot of new internet services like video.”
GeoLinks currently provides internet service to various parts of Ventura County and most other Southern California counties. Local areas serviced by the company include rural parts of Ojai and Thousand Oaks. The company also services entities such as schools, libraries and hospitals in rural areas across the state.
The company plans on using the bulk of the money for new equipment and infrastructure, such as towers, wireless links and distribution. GeoLinks also plans on using around $5.5 million of the funding it will receive to service areas on the California-Nevada border. While GeoLinks will use some of the funding to begin servicing parts of Camarillo and Oxnard, it will also allow the company to make a larger regional push into the Central Valley and around northeastern parts of the state.
The company is allowed up to six years to use the funds to build out its network, although Ditchfield said GeoLinks aims to complete work within four years. As payments will be doled out throughout the next decade, funds received after the network is built will be used for operating costs, such as rent and maintenance.
Applications for the third phase of the fund will likely open in late 2019.
Tyler Hersko covers business news for the Ventura County Star. Reach him at [email protected] or 805-437-0312.
What is SD-WAN, and how can it benefit your business?
To stay competitive in today’s fast-paced digital landscape, organizations must evolve and adapt their internal networks to support the latest and greatest business software and technology.
SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) utilizes software to simplify the process of delivering the WAN (Wide Area Network), ultimately making business procedures quicker, more cost-effective, and more reliable. In order to understand why SD-WAN is growing in popularity, let’s take a step back and look at the fundamental network problems the technology addresses and resolves.
The Origins of SD-WAN
To deliver the services and applications necessary to perform key-business functions, multi-location companies utilize WANs to connect remote offices to both each other and centralized data centers. However, when networks are extended over long distances, operational challenges like high jitter, packet loss, network congestion, and outages can occur. To address these issues, IT professionals have been creating and experimenting with redundant telecommunication links since the 1970s.
Fast forward to the early 2000s, and Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) became a highly utilized data-carrying technique for high-performance telecommunications networks. However, the reality is that MPLS infrastructure is both expensive and slow to deploy, therefore becoming restrictive to an increasingly impatient society focused on efficiency and rapid expansion. Thus, come 2013 the concept of a “Hybrid WAN” was introduced to the market. By 2014 networking publications started utilizing the term SD-WAN to describe the new networking trend.
With the promise of significant cost and time savings, the enterprise client became the first to employ SD-WAN, ultimately causing the market to perceive the technology as an enterprise-only solution. However, SD-WAN also enables small and medium sized businesses to adopt an upgraded corporate-like infrastructure. Therefore, SD-WAN has become a dynamic solution for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Should Your Business Invest in SD-WAN?
So, what is SD-WAN? SD-WAN is a software-based approach to managing WAN connections to more effectively route all network traffic between headquarters or data centers, remote and branch offices, and the cloud.
But this is only the tip of the iceberg. The promise of SD-WAN goes far beyond simply connecting multiple office locations.
- Is less expensive than MPLS drastically driving down operational and capital expenditures.
- Is software-based and delivered via the cloud allowing for quick enablement of new branches or remote offices.
- Assures optimal application performance and dynamic multi-path optimization and routing.
- Gives companies the agility to implement changes quickly to accommodate evolving customer and market trends.
- Reduces security threats through comprehensive encryption and micro-segmentation, ultimately securing the flow of data.
- Has a centralized orchestrator that monitors all network activity, alerting branches of problems, and enabling the remote remediation of issues.
- Delivers real-time analytics and reporting across the entire network.
- …and More
If all of that seems irrelevant to your business, consider that SD-WAN can benefit your business if…
Your Company Relies Heavily on the Internet
How much money would it cost you if your business was down a couple hours? Now, if the answer is not much, then SD-WAN might not be all that profitable for your business. However, if after 30-minutes of downtime your employees would frantically be driving to the nearest Starbucks to get back online, switching or upgrading to SD-WAN is definitely worth considering.
SD-WAN has the ability to combine multiple Internet connections together to act as one. This means that if one connection fails, SD-WAN can issue automatic failover to your backup connection. That’s right, no need to call up your IT provider, wait for a response, and then get manually switched over to the backup Internet connection. It’s “Internet insurance” in real time. Interested in securing true business continuity and 100% uptime for your business? Check out our blog: Disaster Recovery Plan – The Only Way to Ensure Business Continuity.
Your Business Uses Cloud Applications like Salesforce, Microsoft Office 365, Google Apps, Etc.
In the last couple of years, we’ve seen an upstream of organizations leveraging software as a service (SaaS) applications and cloud services from providers such as Google, AWS, and Microsoft Azure. This has caused data traffic patterns to move to the cloud.
Because traditional WAN architectures are not built to support this migration, cloud applications repeatedly encounter extra hops, ultimately wasting bandwidth, increasing costs, and generating higher packet loss and latency.
SD-WAN, on the other-hand, defines policies based on business intent and steers traffic intelligently and securely forgoing additional hops. For example, if the app is hosted somewhere in the cloud, then traffic will be automatically directed to it without backhauling to a POP or HQ data center. By adapting this more agile network infrastructure, businesses will experience overall higher application performance.
Your Business Uses Hosted Voice (VoIP)
Imagine the following scenario—you have a very important conference call scheduled for 1:00 p.m. this afternoon. You’ve reviewed all the paperwork, made sure everything is in order, and are ready to go. The call starts off well. Then suddenly, unbeknownst to you, someone in your office starts watching a 4k YouTube video and your call starts to suffer the consequences. The other person on the call becomes gargled. You can’t understand what is being said. You keep saying, “What” and “Can you repeat that? Sorry. You’re breaking up.” Not good.
SD-WAN allows for easy prioritization of traffic. This means that conference calling can always be prioritized over YouTube traffic. This ensures business critical applications, such as voice and video, are never compromised due to off-task coworkers. To learn more about business phone systems check out: From POTS to VoIP – A Look at Today’s Top Phone Systems for Business
So, Should Your Business Switch to SD-WAN?
Today, having a static and inflexible network architecture is no longer plausible for companies that depend on Internet-based applications. From the associated cost of digital downtime, to compromised application and voice performance, ensuring your company’s internal network operations are safeguarded to function seamlessly is essential for success.
Still not sure if SD-WAN is right for your business? Talk to one of GeoLinks’ in-house experts to learn more, and find out if Your Business Should Invest in SD-WAN.
Can Weather Affect a Fixed Wireless Internet Connection?
The majority of businesses today have become intrinsically reliant on the Internet. From serving as an accessible means to communicate globally, to hosting e-commerce stores, to conducting online credit transactions and transfers, it has become paramount for businesses to have a reliable, high-speed Internet connection. From DSL, to Copper, to Fiber, to Fixed Wireless, there are a variety of broadband technologies to consider when shopping in today’s business marketplace.
When exploring fixed wireless connections, there may be a variety of questions that come to mind. For example, Is fixed wireless reliable? Is fixed wireless affected by weather? Does fixed wireless perform just as well as a wired connection? To answer these questions, let’s first take a step back and ask the foundational question, what is fixed wireless?
What is Fixed Wireless?
Fixed wireless provides high-speed broadband Internet access to a single location via radio waves. By utilizing antennas, towers, and an express line of sight (LoS) to transmit point-to-point and point-to-multi-point signals, fixed wireless technology can be deployed in a fraction of the time and for a fraction of the cost of terrestrial fiber. Unlike a standard WiFi connection, fixed wireless networks can be directionally focused to produce dedicated speeds of up to 10 Gbps. With the ability to operate over licensed or unlicensed wireless spectrum, when configured correctly the technology can withstand extreme weather conditions such as heavy rain, high winds, and severe temperatures, both hot and cold.
Why has Fixed Wireless Developed a Bad Reputation?
Although trusted and utilized by global militaries and law enforcement for upwards of a century, over the years of perfecting fixed wireless for commercial use, many small carriers deployed inexpensive equipment operating across only one frequency. This caused a multitude of problems, including interference from other links in the surrounding area. The result? A deceiving reputation for being slow, unreliable, and inferior to wired networks.
Another common misconception that has been tagged to the technology is that it is equivalent to satellite Internet. Notoriously known for its high latency, it’s important to note that satellite Internet operates by transmitting signals from a dish to a satellite orbiting more than 20,000 miles above sea level. This is drastically different than a 20 mile point-to-point fixed wireless link.
Today’s Commercial High-Speed Fixed Wireless Technology
As with all types of broadband connections, speeds and service will vary from provider to provider. From technical equipment upgrades, to improved and simplified network management through software, commercial fixed wireless networks have advanced over the years. Top that off with the ability to combine and switch between more diversified spectrum links, both licensed and unlicensed, when deployed properly, modern fixed wireless networks can deliver gigabit connection speeds rivaling fiber connections.
Fixed Wireless and the Weather
When we think of our Internet connection transmitting data wirelessly, the effects of weather can be a natural concern. Thus, it’s no surprise why fixed wireless providers are often asked, “Does weather affect fixed wireless?”
The answer? Yes, it can – and that is one of the primary reasons the technology gets overlooked. However, with informed engineering and experience, fixed wireless networks can be unaffected by weather. For example, before building out any wireless network, GeoLinks’ in-house engineering team first looks at an area’s terrain, historic weather patterns, rain fade, and thermal ducting. Then, based on the data collected, and considering the distance of the shot and required bandwidth, they choose the best frequency or frequencies and carrier-grade equipment for that specific region and build. Creating multiple failover paths, every GeoLinks network eventually connects to a fiber optic backbone to ensure true network redundancy. The result? A stable high-speed fixed wireless network designed to withstand the elements.
GeoLinks Case Studies – Proof of Concept
A great case study to prove the potential of a well-constructed fixed wireless network is GeoLinks’ project with a global coffee distributor. In 2016, the distributor was slated to open a series of new locations in Southern California in just 20 days and needed more than 30 circuits to support both their public Wi-Fi and POS systems. The company initially contracted to provide a terrestrial connection was projecting massive delays and restrictions of available bandwidth. In order to meet their quickly approaching deadlines, the company looked to contract an outside local provider to administer a temporary solution–enter GeoLinks.
GeoLinks successfully delivered more than 30 redundant circuits to all of the new store locations in just 14 days, enabling the stores to open as planned.
Although originally hired to serve as a temporary backup solution until their copper network could be installed, with the promise of further delays and all locations running seamlessly on GeoLinks’ ClearFiber™ network, the distributor canceled their copper installations all together and made GeoLinks their primary provider.
Furthermore, Southern California was hit with a massive storm in the Spring of 2017 causing outages across the state. California’s poor irrigation caused underground reservoirs to flood for nearly two weeks straight. As terrestrial cables live underground, many of the client’s pre-existing locations operating on copper experienced ample outages and downtime. All of their ClearFiber™ locations, on the other hand, remained unaffected and avoided any outages or downtime.
Santa Catalina Island:
Santa Catalina Island is located more than 20 miles off the coast of California, consequently making it an ongoing problem to secure reliable high speed Internet access. Before 2016, the majority of island residents were forced to live with either using an unreliable satellite or cellular connection or simply having no access whatsoever. At one point in time, the island commissioned an outside network builder to try and deliver a fixed wireless connection that would solve this problem. Unfortunately, however, the design was dramatically impacted by weather and atmospheric ducting causing consistent drops, outages, packet loss, and high latency. All in all, island residents and businesses were still left with an unsustainable network.
In 2016, GeoLinks was brought in by an affiliate partner to design a custom solution that would deliver Catalina its first ever reliable and redundant multi-gigabit network. By understanding the inherent issues of thermal ducting and rain fade, and by examining weather 50 years of weather patterns, the GeoLinks team, lead by CTO, Ryan Hauf and CEO Skyler Ditchfield, were able to conceptualize an innovative network design in under two weeks’ time.
Having ample tower coverage supported by fiberoptic backbones throughout Southern California, GeoLinks’ team of expert engineers were able to construct a fully redundant network in just 60 days. By using multiple paths over various frequencies to deliver long-haul middle mile, the network was built to seamlessly failover when rain or packet loss was detected, preventing the island from ever experiencing a perceived outage.
GeoLinks – The Best Fixed Wireless Internet Provider
So, let’s answer our initial questions. When engineered properly, fixed wireless is a reliable technology that can withstand extreme weather conditions and perform equal, if not better than, a wired connection. With innovative companies like GeoLinks building businesses and anchor institutions multi-gigabit networks that guarantee ultra-low latency, virtually no jitter, 99.999% uptime, fixed wireless may very well be the best Internet solution for your business.
Not sure if you’re within the GeoLinks coverage area? Inquire here.
Neither Snow nor Rain nor Heat nor Gloom of Night
As we delve into winter, field operations as a service provider can be tough, even grueling in some cases. Long hours, the cold, and sporadic weather can often present challenges in maintaining a state-wide network. Nonetheless, GeoLinks takes great pride and goes above and beyond in upholding its service uptime commitment to each and every one of its clients.
The following account is told by GeoLinks Co-Founder and CTO, Ryan Hauf.
After receiving word that a rural school in Redding that we had connected through GeoLinks’ partner CENIC had lost connection, the GeoLinks team, lead by Co-Founder and CTO Ryan Hauf, immediately set off to restore connectivity.
Matt Murphy [GeoLinks’ Lead Infrastructure Technician] and I left immediately Friday afternoon [in my personal work truck]. We arrived in Redding, California about 1:30am. Just before we pulled into the hotel, I found that I couldn’t get the manual transmission into gear. Coasting to the side of the road we noticed there was a LOT of heat radiating from the transmission, and we came to the conclusion that it had leaked out all its oil. After allowing it to cool for a little while it went into gear again, so we removed the shifter and dumped in about a quart of 90w gear oil (we could not install it the conventional way since that requires a pump which we didn’t’ have.) We were able to drive the rest of the way to the hotel.
After coming all the way we weren’t about to give up, so the next morning we decided that since it was still derivable, we’d give the hill ascent a try. We drove gently to the base of the hill and all seemed okay. About 1/4 of the way up the hill, I slowed down for a washout that was about a foot deep, when I pressed the clutch, it fell to the floor… Uh oh, the problems were getting worse! Of course the engine immediately stalled because I wasn’t prepared for the clutch not to disengage. We were now sitting, stuck in gear, with our front wheels in a washout. We figured we could restart the engine in gear if wheels were free, so we used a high-lift jack to lift the front of the truck. I started it, and let the truck “start/drive/roll” off the jack, which Matt pulled out of the way so we didn’t immediately run it over. We were off again, stuck in first gear, with no clutch, no way to shift gears, and potentially no way to re-start the engine if it stalled, depending on the location.
We continued to drive this way and the conditions got worse, deeper snow, very deep washouts, including one that was about 2′ deep, which the whole left side of the truck dropped into for about 200 feet. There was mud and snow flying everywhere from the tires; I had the engine redlined so it wouldn’t stall.
Some parts where the snow was deep it took us 10 minutes just to go 50 feet or so. Tires spinning, we’d slowly chew our way through the snow enough to get traction to drive up the incline.
Eventually, about half-a-mile from the top of the hill, we were in snow about a foot deep and the left side of the truck had fallen into a rut. Eventually we ran up against a rock or something hiding under the snow and we were stuck. At this point I called Steven (the repo man) to bring a truck and trailer up because we would be needing a tow home (and possibly off the mountain.) From there, we hiked the rest of the way to the site and repaired it (Matt actually hiked it twice since he went back to the truck for a replacement radio.)
We limped the truck over to the school because it was still not connected, even though the tower was fixed. We assumed it was an alignment issue. Arriving just after dark, before long a few people from town showed up asking what we were doing there at night, on the roof… They were great and very helpful. Also very surprised at the extent we were going to in order to get their Internet repaired. We troubleshot at the school for a couple hours and they offered to take us to a hotel in town so we wouldn’t have to lip the explorer there with no clutch. We were stuck at this point – we eventually got dropped off at the hotel around 11pm.
Steven (repo man) arrived at the hotel later than expected. 4:30am, to be exact, due to a fuel leak he had to fix on his truck on the way up at a truck stop gas station in the middle of the night with Macgyver parts. We left the hotel around 8am, and went to South Forks to retrieve an un-needed radio to be used as a replacement radio for the one at the school, which we had determined was bad.
Upon arriving at the school it seemed to be one issue after another, but finally, we were out of there by about 3:30pm, with connectivity successfully restored, against all odds and challenges! We arrived back in town at 4am.
Across the globe, the digital divide is an issue of growing severity. California is no exception. Though it contains the networking world’s epicenter of innovation, large portions of California are left without adequate connectivity. “We have tremendous complexity in California around who does and doesn’t have access to broadband Internet,” said Louis Fox, president and CEO of CENIC. “Urban areas are generally well connected, but California is also a very rural state with sparsely populated areas distributed across a vast and complex geography.”
The 2017 California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) Annual Survey revealed that only 69% of California households have connectivity through computing devices, which are crucial in terms of finding and applying for jobs, as well as enrolling in classes and doing school work. Computer costs and technical know-how are barriers for many of these households. However lack of broadband infrastructure is also significant: 19% report that Internet service is not available where they live.
Californians without Internet access felt disadvantaged in many of the same areas; 38% felt hampered in their opportunity to gain career skills and take classes, while another 38% lamented their inability to get health and medical information.
To overcome this digital divide, leaders in the public and private sectors are banding together to bring reliable, affordable Internet access to underserved communities. At the CENIC annual conference in March, panelists identified the issues and obstacles that stand in the way of connectivity, and discussed the ways in which they are each working to close the digital divide and provide Internet for all in California.
“The challenge in California right now is not small,” said Sunne Wright McPeak, CEO of CETF, a nonprofit established with the express purpose of closing the digital divide. “Our geology makes trying to build anything incredibly complex. Then, add on top of that the diversity of our populations, the complexity of our politics, and the fact that we’re trying to do something that nobody in power is supporting.”
Lack of support may very well stem from lack of awareness. Kim Lewis, CENIC’s legislative advocate, is on a mission to educate the networking world about the plight of underserved communities, which often get left behind, leading to an even greater divide between the haves and have-nots. “The infrastructure in the ground is lacking, and in many areas it’s missing altogether,” said Lewis. “What are our community members going to do when they go home after working all day and their kids don’t have the access they need to do homework?”
In addition to political and geographical barriers, efforts to establish connectivity suffer from under-funding. “The problem is money,” said Rachelle Chong, principal of the Law Offices of Rachelle Chong in San Francisco and former FCC commissioner. “There is inadequate money being spent on broadband infrastructure in the rural and tribal, and sometimes, even suburban areas of California.”
California residents also face connectivity challenges from the private sector. Dane Jasper, CEO of Sonic, a facilities-based backhaul and Internet access company, and Skyler Ditchfield, CEO of GeoLinks, a fixed-wireless Internet and telecom provider, are two innovators attempting to disrupt the Internet connectivity market. “Most American households have two choices for broadband, and tend to only have one or zero when it comes to fast access in the range of 50 to 100 megabits per second,” said Jasper. Ditchfield noted that some provided connectivity packages don’t actually supply adequate connectivity. “A cellular connection — 4G or 5G — to the home is not going to solve the problem of connectivity,” he said. “It’s better than nothing, but it’s not going to give our kids the capability of accessing the online learning resources they need.”
Fortunately, connectivity champions like these panelists are carving out new pathways for underserved communities. Thanks to legislative advocacy from people like McPeak, Chong, and Ditchfield, new initiatives are being considered and put in motion. “The [California Public Utilities Commission] has just put out a rule-making to give out a $20 million grant for digital literacy in California,” said Chong. “Essentially, if you’re a school, a public library, or a community-based organization, like a local government or nonprofit organization, you can apply for a grant from the CPUC to do two things: gain either digital literacy programs or public access to computers.” (Learn more about two grant opportunities for community-based organizations and apply with CETF between July 17 and to July 27.)
Each member of the panel spoke passionately about getting the rest of California connected to the digital world. “To me, the Internet is the great equalizer,” said Ditchfield. “It allows you, no matter where you are, to learn at your own pace, to learn what you want to learn, and to go out there and research and make something of yourself, whether that’s creating jobs, educating yourself, or taking care of your own medical issues. It should almost be a basic human right.”
All expressed their eagerness to continue their efforts within the CENIC community, hoping to draw on CENIC’s resources and plethora of connections. “CENIC has been a great partner,” said McPeak. “In fostering a culture of collaboration and digital inclusion, CENIC has been a pioneer. You have provided a pathway and been a trailblazer in collaboration.”
It is CENIC’s ongoing goal to bring quality, high-speed broadband service to all research and education communities. We at CENIC look forward to forming new relationships and fostering existing ones to establish Internet access for all in California. (#Net4AllNow)
For Further Reading
- “California wanted to bridge the digital divide but left rural areas behind. Now that’s about to change,” Los Angeles Times, 1/18/18
- “FCC Delays Are Keeping Broadband from Rural Schoolkids,” Wired, 4/18/18
- “This Program Gets Rural Schools Online. Will It Survive Trump’s FCC?”Fast Company, 4/28/17
- “2018 Broadband Deployment Report,” Federal Communications Commission, 2/28/18
Shared vs. Dedicated Internet Access—Not all Connections are Created Equally
You’re sitting at your desk, trying to upload an extremely time-sensitive contract into an email, and you see this…
Meanwhile, your coworker Joe in the next room is trying to host a multi-user conference call on your VoIP system, and he hears this….
You can even hear Jamie, down the hall, spewing choice words as she tries to load your company’s online CRM but is deterred by this…
To support the high-demand, high-bandwidth applications that fuel today’s mission-critical business operations, it’s no longer a luxury to have a high-functioning network, it’s a necessity.
So, what causes slow Internet?
Let’s face it, some things in life are just simply out of our control. For example, an extreme weather event, such as heavy rainfall, can flood terrestrial Internet infrastructure, such as DSL or Fiber, causing community-wide network blackouts for hours, days, or weeks at a time. Similarly, your local construction crew might accidentally drill into the lines feeding your building’s primary Internet connection. Or perhaps your city’s electric company has an unforeseen power outage causing your Internet to drop. While it’s impossible to completely prevent the unpredictable, if Internet is important to your business, consider investing in both backup generators and a backup Internet circuit to safeguard your business from potential downtime.
Does your office have 20 users working off a symmetrical 3 Mbps circuit? Chances are your business operations will move at a glacial speed—that is, if they can be accomplished at all. Outside of physical users, do you know what everyone in your office is using the Internet for? Are they streaming video, uploading images, or downloading large files? All of these operations require bandwidth. Thus, in the case outlined above, your office lacks sufficient bandwidth.
To avoid Internet slow down, it’s imperative to know what your business uses the Internet for, and adjust your bandwidth accordingly. Furthermore, it’s important to understand if your office or building… A. has exclusive access to the bandwidth you’re paying for or B. you’re on a shared circuit leading to…
If your company is operating off a shared circuit, it is entirely possible that your neighbor could use up or hog your bandwidth. So, unless you plan to schedule out times for both your companies to take turns using the Internet, read on.
What is a Shared Internet Circuit?
When your Internet is part of a shared terrestrial circuit, you’re doing just that, sharing. All user data is transmitted across a singular network expending more and more bandwidth as additional devices join and engage the network. So literally, all users on a shared circuit share speeds and bandwidth— AKA what your neighbor does may affect the quality of your connection.
The PRO of opting for shared Internet access is that it is typically the most affordable form of broadband. Additionally, if you live in a highly dense urban area, it’s likely readily available from a variety of competitors. For businesses who do not rely heavily on the Internet, this is a perfectly fine and economical solution. Just be prepared for random and potentially frequent slow down.
What is a Dedicated Internet Circuit?
Unlike shared Internet access, dedicated circuits provide private Internet access to a single location, meaning bandwidth is delivered and accessible exclusively to the circuit owner. Therefore, businesses who opt for dedicated internet access (DIA) actually receive the speeds and bandwidth they sign up for—no sharing! While fiber can deliver dedicated circuits, due to the terrestrial nature of the technology it is typically slow to deploy and extremely expensive. Therefore, more and more businesses are turning towards fixed wireless for this premium service, such as GeoLinks’ ClearFiber™ network. Dedicated Internet is very valuable for organizations with multiple users, cloud-based phones or web-enabled devices — or simply businesses who value uptime and reliability.
DIA Use Cases
Not sure if your business should upgrade to a dedicated circuit? Here are a variety of business use cases, and how they can benefit from DIA.
- From interdepartmental communication, to customer service, to online marketing, to generating large financial contracts, an average car dealership’s day-to-day business relies on having dependable high-speed Internet.
Doctors’ Offices and Hospitals
- Electronic health records (EHR) and X-Rays are quickly migrating to the cloud, making large file transfers increasingly imperative to healthcare facilities. Fact: A 1 Gigabyte Multiple CT Scan file transfer at 1.5 Mbps will take 84 minutes to download vs. only 1.25 minutes to download on a 100 Mbps dedicated circuit.
Hotels and Restaurants
- In the hospitality industry, convenience and accessibility is paramount. Thus, having a high-functioning POS or check in system is mandatory for daily operations, and free guest Wi-Fi has become expected. Also consider that more and more users are making reservations online— can’t access the Internet? Good luck confirming reservations or booking requests!
- Real estate is an industry that revolves predominantly around website and phone leads. To be successful, agents must be accessible at all times, and keep web listings up-to-date with recent images and video tours. Therefore, high-speed Internet and using unified communications can be extremely beneficial.
- From ensuring that money transactions are efficient and secure, to deploying live security-monitoring, to executing nightly backups, a bank would be severely compromised if they encountered a lack of bandwidth.
So, if you’re business depends on having a reliable and secure connection to the internet, consider upgrading to a dedicated circuit today.
CALIFORNIA PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION
Order Instituting Rulemaking to Consider Modifications to the California Advanced Services Fund. | Rulemaking No. 12-10-012 (Filed October 25, 2012)
OPENING COMMENTS OF CALIFORNIA INTERNET, L.P. (U-7326-C) DBA GEOLINKS ON PHASE II OF THE FEBRUARY 14, 2018 AMENDED SCOPING MEMO AND ASSIGNED COMMISSIONER’S RULING
California Internet, L.P. (U-7326-C) dba GeoLinks (“GeoLinks” or the “Company”) respectfully submits these opening comments on the Phase II Staff Proposal set forth in the February 14, 2018 Amended Scoping Memo and Assigned Commissioner’s Ruling (“Ruling”).
Headquartered in Camarillo, CA, GeoLinks is nationally recognized for its innovative Internet and Hosted Voice solutions. The Company’s proprietary ClearFiber™ product utilizes a combination of terrestrial fiber optic backhaul, carrier-grade full-duplex fixed wireless equipment, and FCC licensed spectrum to deliver ultra-reliable high-speed broadband Internet access via radio waves.
GeoLinks was the largest construction grant winner for California K-12 schools and libraries in both 2016 and 2017, providing highspeed broadband to nearly 30 rural school districts and surrounding communities throughout the state that previously had not had access to any high-speed broadband service. The Company hopes to leverage its expertise in connecting unserved areas of the state to apply for California Advanced Services Fund (“CASF”) funding in the coming year.
A. The Commission Should Allow Flexibility in How CASF Applicants Provide Project Location Data
In its proposal, Staff proposes that CASF Applicants provide, among other things, the following with respect to project location data:
- The geographic location of the project related key network equipment, such as: DSLAMs, wireless towers, router facilities, network interconnection, etcetera. (Format to be determined by Staff)
In finalizing the format for such a requirement, GeoLinks urges the Commission to allow for flexibility in the provision of this information between the application and construction phases of the CASF process. GeoLinks recommends that for the application phase Staff require this information by census area from CASF applicants. Providing infrastructure location information by census area provides staff with mappable infrastructure data while ensuring maximum flexibility for network design. Especially for competitive providers that are not limited by fiber construction requirements, the exact locations for certain pieces of network infrastructure (i.e. towers or receivers) may shift during the construction phase to account for land procurement, leasing, permitting, topography and vegetation, etc. Moreover, requiring this information at a more granular level at the application phase may result in delays if an applicant has to seek approval of any changes, even if the resulting network functions exactly the same. For these reasons, GeoLinks urges the Commission to seek this information at a census area level as part of the CASF application process.
B. The Per Household Threshold for Ministerial Review Should be the Same Regardless of Technology Type
In the Proposal, Staff addresses the approval delays that have, to date, been commonplace in the CASF program. Specifically, Staff addresses that the majority of projects take several years before approval is granted, creating opportunities for new challenges and problems. To streamline the approval process, Staff recommends ministerial review process for applications that meet certain criteria.
As an initial matter, GeoLinks supports Staff’s proposal to create a ministerial review process for certain projects. The Company believes that such a process will reserve Commission resources and ensure that broadband deployment to unserved areas is completed on a more expedited basis. In addition, GeoLinks believes such a process will encourage more participation in the CASF program as companies will no longer be faced with the open-ended uncertainty of when a project might get approved. However, GeoLinks asserts that the per household cost thresholds Staff proposes for this ministerial review process will thwart Staff’s efforts to streamline the program and incentivize carriers to bid on these low-income areas.
As proposed, the process set forth for low-income communities creates a huge disparity between technology types. Specifically, Staff proposes allowing this streamlined process for fixed wireless projects only if proposed project costs are $1,285 per household or less. However, for the same project area (and likely the same offered speeds, prices, customer service, etc.), Staff proposes an allowable project cost of $15,650 per household for fiber builds – more than 12x the amount allowed for fixed wireless projects. Moreover, there is no limit proposed for satellite providers, assuming they are eligible to bid.
On its face, this discrepancy is contrary to the Commission’s stated goal of administering the CASF program on a “technology neutral” basis. While not clear from Staff’s proposal, GeoLinks believes these numbers may be based on amounts approved for projects in the past. However, these numbers should be used as a mechanism to reevaluate the per household costs the Commission has historically awarded to broadband providers, not as a method by which to hinder certain technology-types from bidding on a CASF-eligible area.
For example, if a fixed wireless provider applies to provide high-speed broadband to households in a CASF-eligible, low-income area of the state for $1500 per household, that fixed wireless provider should not be precluded from the ministerial process when a fiber-based project, that will likely offer the same speeds, would be eligible – and for potentially upwards of $14,000 more PER HOUSEHOLD.
The proposed price discrepancy gives fiber providers a huge advantage and will only serve to disincentivize competitive providers from submitting CASF applications for areas where the cost threshold might be more than $1,285 per household. In addition, a provider that submitted an application for slightly more than the threshold for fixed wireless would run the risk of being beat out by a fiber provider offering to deploy service for 12x the cost because they can get approved in a shorter period of time under the ministerial process. This structure not only picks winners and losers in the CASF application process but encourages wasteful spending that could have be avoided if other technology types were given an equal opportunity for expedited application review. Certainly, as proposed, this discrepancy fails meet the Assigned Commissioner’s stated goal to “consider appropriate administrative controls to ensure that funds granted to eligible applicants are administered efficiently and cost-effectively, consistent with the Account’s stated purposes and objectives.”
Instead, GeoLinks urges the Commission to set a flat cost per household threshold for its ministerial review process that would apply to all CASF applicants, regardless of technology type. Not only will this flat per household amount simplify the review process, but it will set all service providers on equal footing for ministerial review, ensuring maximum participation in the CASF program and promoting more efficient use of CASF funds.
C. GeoLinks supports Staff’s Proposal to Initiate a Request for Proposal Process “High-Priority” Areas but Urges Staff to Reevaluate Whether These Areas Are Still CASF-Eligible
Staff proposes implementing a Request for Proposal (“RFP”) process for “high-priority” areas where no applications have been received. GeoLinks strongly supports Staff’s suggestion to implement an RFP process for these areas. However, in doing so, GeoLinks urges the Commission to direct Staff to reevaluate the priority areas to assess census blocks that are currently available for CASF funding.
Earlier this year, GeoLinks was in the process of finalizing a CASF Application for several localities within the Salinas Valley area, all of which are listed as priority areas on the Commission’s website. However, between the changes implemented by Assembly Bill (“AB”) 1665 and new projects in the area (which were not previously reflected on the California Broadband Map), the area appears to be all but ineligible for CASF funding. And the areas that remain cannot be served by a non-incumbent carrier without requiring a huge cost per household. While GeoLinks has not analyzed all of the “priority areas” designated by the Commission, it stands to reason that a refresh of these areas may be necessary. With specific guidance and direction for eligible areas in conjunction with a streamlined, ministerial review process, GeoLinks believes that the RFP process will yield numerous bidders and revitalize broadband deployment efforts in these priority areas. Specifically, GeoLinks urges the Commission to update the California Broadband map to account for any changes that may impact high-priority areas (or any CASF-eligible areas), including awarded CASF grants, Commission-approved settlement agreements pursuant to merger transactions, other federal and state grant funding, etc., and to do so more expeditiously going forward
In addition, similar to the process recommended above, GeoLinks suggests that carriers be placed on equal footing with respect to eligibility to bid on these RFPs. Specifically, GeoLinks urges the Commission to score applications based on the same criteria, regardless of technology type, and suggests a flat per household threshold for ministerial review, applicable to all applicants.
D. The Commission Should Create Rules for Right of First Refusal Submissions to Avoid the Process Becoming a Mechanism for Blocking Competition
GeoLinks urges the Commission to implement rules to ensure carriers do not use the Right of First Refusal (“ROFR”) process to block areas where they have no intention to deploy broadband infrastructure. First, GeoLinks urges the Commission to implement rules that limit a carrier’s ability to file multiple ROFR letters for the same area. If a carrier files an ROFR for an area, it has 180 days to either deploy broadband/ upgrade its existing facilities or seek an extension. If after the exhaustion of the initial 180-day period or any granted extension the provider has failed to deploy or upgrade its facilities as set forth in the ROFR, the carrier should not be allowed to re-bid the area in any subsequent round. Second, GeoLinks believes that repeated extensions are only reasonable if the delay is completely outside the control of the ROFR filer. Delays due to inability to secure funding, reasonably avoidable construction delays, etc. should not suffice. Lastly, the Commission should consider penalties for failure to never construct an ROFR area after seeking an extension such as preclusion from participating in the CASF program.
E. Connect America Fund Recipients Should be Subject to Mandatory Waiting Periods Before Becoming Eligible to Apply for CASF Funding.
As set forth in AB 1665, Connection America Fund Phase II (“CAF”) areas are ineligible for CASF funding until July 1, 2020, unless the existing facility-based broadband provider has notified the Commission before July 1, 2020, that it has either completed or elected not to build its CAF deployment in the census block. In its Proposal, Staff seeks comment on the following:
- How can the Commission incentivize existing facilities based broadband providers to build out their CAF II obligations in a timely manner?
- How and what is the process for existing providers to notify the Commission before July 1, 2020, that it has either completed or elected not to build its CAF [project] to expand broadband service within identified census blocks?
As an initial matter, in adopting any rules related to the treatment of CAF recipients, GeoLinks urges the Commission to remember that these recipients made commitments to the FCC in exchange for receipt of CAF funds. Specifically, these providers agreed that in exchange for the model-based support they would “deploy voice and broadband-capable networks to all supported locations that are deemed ‘high-cost’ and not served by an unsubsidized competitor.” If a CAF recipient fails to meet these commitments (either by only completing a portion of an area or not completing an area at all), the Commission should not allow them to game the system and benefit from CASF funding.
By way of example, recently Frontier Communications informed the Commission that it would not be pursuing a specific CAF area (Desert Shores). The very next day, however, Frontier filed a CASF application for the exact same area. Based on Frontier’s CAF commitment, Staff flagged the Desert Shores area as ineligible for CASF funding. This blocked all other broadband providers from seeking CASF funding to serve the Desert Shores area.
Clearly, Frontier waited to announce that it would not be using CAF funding for Desert Shores until its CASF application was complete (since that filing occurred the next day). Meaning that Frontier not only knew in advance it would not be upholding its commitments under CAF but withheld that information from the Commission for its own benefit. This behavior should not be rewarded and is most certainly not in the public interest.
To avoid this gaming of the CASF program in the future, GeoLinks urges the Commission to subject CAF providers that bow out of their FCC commitments under the CAF program to a mandatory waiting period before they can apply for CASF funding for a previously blocked CAF area. Specifically, GeoLinks suggests a 90-day mandatory waiting period if notice is provided to the Commission before January 1, 2019 and a 180-day mandatory waiting period if notice is provided to the Commission after January 1, 2019 but before January 1, 2020. However, if a provider waits until after January 1, 2020, the Commission should completely preclude the provider from applying for CASF funds for the same area. Moreover, the Commission should consider subjecting any CAF recipient who waits until after January 1, 2020 to inform the Commission of its election not to complete its deployment commitments in a CAF area to a Rule 1.1 violation. Given the time necessary to plan and deploy a broadband network, if a recipient has not begun deployment or made significant steps towards deployment with only 6 months remaining before the July 1, 2020 deadline, it can be inferred that the recipient had no intention of deploying broadband to that area and withheld such information from the Commission constituting misleading “the Commission or its staff by an artifice or false statement of fact or law.”
For these reasons, GeoLinks strongly urges the Commission to develop rules that preclude CAF recipients from gaming the CASF program in their favor.
F. The Commission Should Allow an Additional CASF Application Submission Period Each Calendar Year
In its Proposal, Staff seeks input on timing for CASF submissions, asking the following:
- Should an additional CASF grant application opportunity be afforded following the July 31st ROFR completion dates, thereby permitting submission of applications every 180 days? How will this affect prioritization of projects?
GeoLinks supports an additional annual grant application opportunity for a number of reasons. First, this bi-annual submission process will maximize efficient administration of the CASF program. A new submission deadline every 6-months will help ensure that application review stays on track for expedited processing. Paired with the new ministerial processes that Staff has proposed, CASF application review will become more streamlined and allow for the assessment of a second round of applications within a calendar year.
Second, the bi-annual application deadline will incentivize more service providers to participate in the CASF program, as they can plan their CASF application(s) to align better with pre-planned company expenditures or resource allocations. For example, smaller companies may have finite network design and deployment resources to dedicate to large builds. If those resources are tied up in a large project for the first half of the year but not the latter half of the year, a company may be precluded from applying for a CASF grant until the next annual deadline. This could ultimately disincentivize the company to apply at all. However, if a bi-annual application process was implemented, these broadband providers would have the flexibility to time a CASF application in a way that best aligns with their resource allocation plans. As the Commission seeks to incentivize more participation in the CASF program, GeoLinks believes a second annual submission deadline would further this goal.
G. The Commission Should Implement Technology Neutral Scoring Criteria
In its Proposal, Staff recommends revising certain scoring criteria to give greater weight to projects in areas that are “low-income” or “high-priority.” GeoLinks supports this shift in scoring criteria as a way to incentivize projects geared towards these areas. That said, GeoLinks asserts that staff should not assess points associated with pricing in the same way proposed in Section 1.7 of Appendix C, which places a $1,285 limit per household on fixed wireless project proposals but a whopping $15,650 limit (12x higher) per household for fiber-based projects for ministerial review, based solely on technology type.
GeoLinks urges the Commission to impose a review process that puts all providers on an equal footing to ensure competition amongst CASF applicants. Specifically, GeoLinks asserts that the Commission must ensure an apples-to-apples comparison when evaluating CASF applications (the total price/ offering regardless of technology) and not an apples-to-fiber comparison that gives more expensive business models a leg up for no reason other than these projects have traditionally been more expensive in the past. This will ensure that CASF projects costs stay low yet will translate to better use of funds and additional funds for additional projects.
Based on the foregoing, GeoLinks urges the Commission to adopt changes that ensure flexibility for competitive carriers, technology neutral administration of the program, incentives for participation, and prevent gaming of the program to block competition.
/s/ Melissa Slawson
General Counsel, V.P. of Government Affairs and Education
California Internet, L.P. dba GeoLinks
251 Camarillo Ranch Rd
Camarillo, CA 93012
April 16, 2018
 For more information about fixed-wireless technology and GeoLinks’ Clearfiber™ network, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8GvGOKCpnk
 Ruling, Appendix C, at 9-10.
 Id., at 13.
 Id., at 13
 See Id., at 14.
 Interim Opinion Implementing California Advanced Services Fund, Decision 07-12-054 (rel. December 20, 2007), at 8: “The CASF shall be administered on a technology neutral basis by the Commission.” See also Id. At 28: “CASF funding proposals will be reviewed based upon how well they meet the criteria for selection as set forth below, and, where applicable, compared with any competing claims to match the deployment offer under superior terms. Such criteria should be evaluated on a competitively neutral basis.” (Emphasis added).
 Ruling at 6.
 See http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/uploadedFiles/CPUC_Public_Website/Content/Utilities_and_Industries/ Communications_-_Telecommunications_and_Broadband/ConsortiaPriorityAreas(1).xlsx (last visited April 12, 2018).
 Chapter 851, Statutes of 2017.
 Ruling, Appendix C, at 16.
 Connect America Fund, et al. Report and Order, Declaratory Ruling, Order, Memorandum Opinion and Order, Seventh Order on Reconsideration, and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, WC Docket No. 10-90 et al., FCC 14-54 (rel. June 10, 2014), at para. 60.
 Frontier notice “CAF II Census Blocks – Desert Shores” (Feb. 6, 2018).
 Frontier CASF Broadband Infrastructure Grant Application – Desert Shores (Feb. 7, 2018).
 Rule 1.1., Rules of Practice and Procedure.
 Ruling, Appendix C, at 18.
CAMARILLO, CALIF. (PRWEB) MARCH 20, 2018
GeoLinks is thrilled to officially announce its acquisition of Southern California fixed wireless broadband provider, Vectus. The acquisition includes an outright procurement of the ISP’s robust fixed wireless network, key staff, and existing customer base ultimately expanding GeoLinks’ existing ClearFiber™ network and coverage map.
Founded by seasoned industry professionals in 2006, Vectus has become known as one of California’s leading providers of Ethernet over fixed wireless Internet services. Presently, the Vectus network offers dense coverage throughout Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.
“With founding roots in Southern California, GeoLinks has been familiar with Vectus’s robust wireless network for quite some time,” said GeoLinks CEO Skyler Ditchfield. “When the opportunity to officially acquire Vectus came to the table, all parties knew immediately that merging networks would be seamless from an operations standpoint, and prove immensely beneficial to existing and future clientele. With contracts finalized, company migration will commence immediately, enabling GeoLinks to further expand its coverage map while simultaneously increasing our overall network capacity, redundancy, and ability to deliver higher bandwidth.”
President and CTO of Vectus, David Saylor, agreed with Ditchfield that the acquisition was a natural and strategic fit for both entities. “Post-acquisition, I have full confidence that all existing Vectus customers will continue to receive the same exceptional service they’ve become accustomed to. At our cores, GeoLinks and Vectus have synergistic beliefs—always put the customer first. By combining assets, all current and future customers will now have access to an even more resilient and redundant wireless network. Skyler and GeoLinks are highly respected leaders and innovators in the world of telecom, and I speak on behalf of the entire Vectus team when I say that we’re extremely pleased to be combining forces and joining their efforts.”
Both Vectus and GeoLinks’ existing clients will encounter no disruptions of service during the network transition. GeoLinks looks forward to announcing further details on increased network offerings in the upcoming months.
Headquartered in Southern California, GeoLinks is a leading telecommunications company and competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) public utility, nationally recognized for its innovative Internet and Hosted Voice solutions. Named the Fastest Growing WISP in America, GeoLinks delivers Enterprise-Grade Internet, Layer 2 Transport, Hosted Voice, and both Public and Private Turnkey Network Construction expertly tailored for businesses and Anchor Institutions nationwide.
GeoLinks’ accelerated success is largely due to its flagship product, ClearFiber™, which offers dedicated business-class Internet with unlimited bandwidth, true network redundancy, and guaranteed speeds reaching up to 10 Gbps. Named “Most Disruptive Technology” in the 2018 Central Coast Innovation Awards, GeoLinks’ ClearFiber™ network is backed by a carrier-grade Service Level Agreement boasting 99.999% uptime and 24/7 in-house customer support. With an average installation period of 4 to 7 days, GeoLinks is proud to offer the most resilient and scalable fixed wireless network on the market.
Recognized as a thought-leader in closing the digital divide, GeoLinks proudly sits on an array of national boards, coalitions, and working groups including the Schools, Healthcare & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), the Broadband Consortium of the Pacific Coast (BCPC), and the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee’s (BDAC) Streamlining Federal Siting Working Group.In 2018 GeoLinks was awarded the Corporate Partnership Award by the Corporation For Education Network Initiatives In California (CENIC) for serving the research and education community in California.
Thanks to the commitment of Ditchfield’s team and their understanding of the importance of high-speed broadband for California research and education communities, and their strategy for reaching those with limited or no broadband access due to remote locations and challenging terrain, CENIC and GeoLinks have been able to move forward on numerous initiatives in support of these underserved communities.
Dozens of projects have been completed, are in progress, or are anticipated that will serve K-12 schools, the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) research sites, and public libraries throughout the state. Previously, a number of these sites were served at speeds of 1.5 Mbps or less. Most now have 50 to 100 times greater speeds as a result of these efforts.
CENIC President and CEO Louis Fox stated, “GeoLinks has become an important ally in our efforts to address broadband-access inequities in California. Together we are hard at work on public policy initiatives that, we hope, will bring more resources to California, and thereby bring the benefits of advanced networking to all Californians at their community anchor institutions – schools, libraries, health care, and research sites. CENIC looks forward to a long collaboration with Skyler and his team to ensure that California remains at the global forefront of innovation in research and education networking.”
Fox added, “As CENIC has historically focused on fiber-network deployments, I was skeptical at first about using fixed wireless, but GeoLinks has demonstrated that they can deliver gigabit speeds with symmetrical services to remote sites that have no access to fiber-optic networks. Even with the significant special construction necessary, they have delivered these services within 9 to 12 months, which is remarkable.”
GeoLinks’ fixed wireless network, ClearFiber™, uses carrier-grade equipment and provides telecom-grade broadband service with the same latency and jitter as fiber. GeoLinks is able to build solar- and wind-powered telecommunications facilities off the grid, resulting in rapid network deployment in a fraction of the time and for a fraction of the cost of fiber. ClearFiber uses FCC-licensed spectrum with redundancy at every level of hardware deployment.
“We analyze 50 years of regional weather patterns to determine the proper type of antenna, radio frequency output, and broadcast distance to ensure we receive 99.999% uptime on all of our links,” further explained GeoLinks CEO Skyler Ditchfield. “We also use this data to determine how much solar energy is needed for each individual site. As a standard, we engineer our sites to run for 25 days without sunlight to safeguard against extreme weather events. Furthermore, we also build in redundancy at every level, from our power equipment, to our routers, switches, and radios. We are also currently in the early stages of experimenting with wind energy. While solar power is typically low during storms, wind is high on mountain tops and can thus reduce the need for solar panel and battery load, ultimately reducing overall deployment costs.”
Recognized as thought-leaders in closing the digital divide, the GeoLinks leadership team proudly serves on an array of national boards, coalitions, and working groups including the Schools, Healthcare and Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), the Broadband Consortium of the Pacific Coast (BCPC), and the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee’s (BDAC) Streamlining Federal Siting Working Group.
The CENIC Innovations in Networking Awards are presented each year at CENIC’s annual conference to highlight exemplary innovations that leverage ultra-high bandwidth networking, particularly where those innovations have the potential to transform how education and research are conducted or where they further the deployment of broadband in underserved areas. The CENIC conference will be held March 5 – 7, 2018, in Monterey, California.
About CENIC • www.cenic.org
CENIC connects California to the world — advancing education and research statewide by providing the world-class network essential for innovation, collaboration, and economic growth. This nonprofit organization operates the California Research and Education Network (CalREN), a high-capacity network designed to meet the unique requirements of over 20 million users, including the vast majority of K-20 students together with educators, researchers, and individuals at other vital public-serving institutions. CENIC’s Charter Associates are part of the world’s largest education system; they include the California K-12 system, California Community Colleges, the California State University system, California’s public libraries, the University of California system, Stanford, Caltech, the Naval Postgraduate School, and USC. CENIC also provides connectivity to leading-edge institutions and industry research organizations around the world, serving the public as a catalyst for a vibrant California.