Utility requests broadband extension | SierraSun.com

Utility requests broadband extension

The Truckee Donner Public Utility District will ask a county commission to extend the date required to initiate broadband services, after its first deadline expired on the first of the year.

District officials cited lengthy litigation with Cebridge Connections, the local cable company and Internet service provider now called Suddenlink, for delaying the district’s planned entry into the broadband market.

On Thursday, the Truckee utility will ask the Nevada County Local Agency Formation Commission, or LAFCo, to grant the district additional time equivalent to that lost during litigation.

A quasi-legislative body that reviews government services, LAFCo gave the Truckee utility the go-ahead to plan broadband Internet service in August 2004, contingent upon the district’s ability to initiate services by Jan. 1, 2008.

However, about a month after the approval, Cebridge filed an appeal with the commission challenging the decision, arguing that the district’s plan would violate California laws regulating what services public agencies can offer.

The legal battle carried on for more than a year in lower courts until a Nevada County judge ruled in favor of LAFCo’s decision in December 2005, affirming the legality of the district’s bid to provide telecommunications services. Cebridge appealed the decision, only to lose an appellate court ruling in June, 2007.

Now, the district is requesting an extension of the initial deadline.

“They have asked the commission to acknowledge the time period that was tolled by the litigation,” said LAFCo Executive Director SR Jones.

According to district General Services Manager Alan Harry, the commission has already agreed to the extension, and will formalize the adjustment at Thursday’s board meeting.

The agreement would give the district until August 2010 to initiate broadband services.

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