Can someone (@dane?) tell me what the blocker is for delivering fiber to my location (2200 block of McGee Ave, Berkeley, 94703, near Allston Way)?
From Sonic's March update, it sounds like it's a permitting issue with the City of Berkeley. However, the office of my representative on the Berkeley city council claims that the blocker is getting permission from PG&E to share their utility poles--and that resolving this is out of Berkeley's hands.
If the City of Berkeley is the hold-up, I'd like to know so that I can pester^H^H^H^H^H^H reach out to my city representatives and apply friendly pressure to move things along. :) I will also try to get other neighbors involved, if it's a city issue.
Thanks in advance!
Despite what our city-council representative’s office told you, I’m willing to bet that it’s stuck in Berkeley permit-approval limbo. As I understand, PG&E is required to share access to the poles as long as they aren’t overloaded. The poles may belong to PG&E, but they’re on city property, so the city has some jurisdiction over them. Anyway, Dane, and Sonic in general, have been frank about PG&E access issues when they’ve occurred elsewhere, and I haven’t seen any mention of such here.
So what makes me think permit approval is the hold-up? Last October, Sonic applied for two permits for new service in south-central and southwest Berkeley, U2018-00246 and U2018-00247. If I read the Berkeley permits website correctly, they both went for Public Works review in early December and they’ve been stuck there ever since. Why? Maybe it’s a PG&E-related issue, but PG&E didn’t seem to have a problem with overhead fiber deployment north of University or east of Shattuck.
My guess is that the permits got stuck when Public Works was made aware that Sonic’s pole-mounted splitter cabinets exceed the maximum dimensions specified in Berkeley’s Aesthetic Guidelines for PROW Permits
, a document written in 2011 as part of an effort to regulate the deployment of pole-mounted 4G cellphone equIpment and other non-traditional telecom infrastructure. The problem is that the size limits specified, 10” wide x 12” deep with a 4 cu. foot maximum volume, make a lot more sense for an antenna enclosure than they do for a splitter cabinet. The good news is that these are guidelines
adopted by the City Manager, not part of the Municipal Code, so they should, in principle, be negotiable. The bad news is that the negotiations have gone on for four months already, with no apparent end in sight.
So what can we do about it? I certainly plan to contact my city council representative about it, as was suggested in the latest Sonic email update. Unless Dane or some other Sonic representative tells me it would be counterproductive, I also plan to contact the mayor and
the City Manager and
the Public Works Department Director and
I’ll encourage my neighbors and other interested parties to do the same. These people are working for us, they represent us, and they need to know that we support locally owned, net-neutral, privacy-friendly, speedy, economical alternatives to the AT&T/Comcast duopoly.