The California Department of Technology awarded funding to Lumen and others for a middle mile network covering a large part of the state. The news came at a meeting of the middle mile advisory committee earlier this month, a Lumen spokesperson told Telecompetitor.
As the spokesperson explained, the state will pay Lumen $400 million for the portion of the network that the company will build. According to Lumen, the company’s portion of the network will reach hundreds of California communities by the end of 2026.
“It’s not a grant project,” the spokesperson said. “The state is purchasing the network from Lumen.”
The state did not immediately reply to a request from Telecompetitor asking for the names of the other companies that won funding for the middle mile network. But a map of the middle-mile network shows that different portions of the network will be established based on different ownership models. Some portions of the network will be leased, while some will be purchased, constructed or jointly built.
The network will use an open access approach, meaning that broadband providers will be able to use the network on a wholesale basis.
Funding for the network came through Senate Bill 156, which allocated $3.25 billion for the network.
That bill also allocated $2 billion for last-mile infrastructure that would “complement” the middle mile network and $750 million in a loan loss reserve fund to assist local governments, tribes and non-profits with security enhanced private financing to construct and operate new public fiber networks.
The California Department of Technology previously was awarded $73 million in funding through the NTIA middle mile program. The funding was to go toward the cost of building spurs on the state’s middle mile network. Additional funding sources also will be used to cover an estimated total cost of $187,526,206.
Additional information about California broadband, including links to state resources, previous Telecompetitor coverage and more, can be found on the Broadband Nation web page for California.