2019 was an exciting time of year for Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications. We were awarded five California Advanced Services Fund grants to extend broadband services to the hardest-to-reach areas of our region.
We began construction of the projects during the first quarter of 2020, and have continued implementing plans to provide services to most of the cooperative’s territory that does not have reliable, unlimited broadband, as well as improving existing services.
In the past year, we also worked with our parent company, Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative, to build joint projects that improved PSREC’s supervisory control and data acquisition system while allowing PST to offer services through PSREC’s fiber. Joint projects were done in Sierraville, Sattley, and Calpine; Grizzly Road; Plumas-Eureka Estates; and the Chandler Road region.
People outside of the grant areas will benefit from the fiber optic being brought closer to more neighborhoods, which will improve wireless service as well as coaxial service.
We get questions on why we didn’t get a grant for a specific region. It’s because of how the grants are funded. State programs are specific about which areas are covered. Areas that were not eligible for a grant when we applied in 2019 have become available this year, so we’ve applied for additional grants.
PST offers broadband services to Quincy; Portola/Delleker; all of the Mohawk Valley; portions of C Road; the Susan River Valley area, including Ward Lake; the southern part of Honey Lake Valley, including Doyle, Herlong and the Sunnyside road area; Red Rock; and Sierra Valley, including Calpine, Sattley, Sierraville, and Sierra Brooks.
PST replaced the coaxial system in portions of west Quincy with fiber optics to provide broadband services with download speeds up to 1 gigabyte per second and unlimited data use. We also installed fiber optics on most of Chandler Road, American Way, and Hillside in parallel with parts of west Quincy.
PST will continue to improve its broadband networks. As with our electric system, we will steadily improve all our systems and expand our coverage. We are not here to extract money from the community and ship it out to other regions. We care about our communities and want them to thrive.
PST’s coaxial and wireless broadband services offer download speeds of up to 25 Mbps and 20 Mbps, respectively. Our fiber optic services can go as fast as 1 Gbps download, with dedicated business services available, if needed. With these speeds, you can stream videos on multiple devices at the same time without slowing down. You could even eliminate your cable or satellite TV bill with streaming services.
We are working hard to improve speeds for all our services next year.
At PST, we are taking a number of steps to limit the opportunity for exposure to illness for our customers and employees. This means we had to limit where we install service. We can safely install internet services in an attached garage under certain circumstances, and are working on installing on the exterior of houses. If PST is not able to install service, we are placing customers on a list to schedule installation at a later date.
More information on current internet service installation requirements is available at our website.
We are working on outside enclosures for homes that allow customers to install interior wiring on their own. COVID-19 interrupted the supply chain of some of the necessary equipment for this, but we expect to be able to increase the number of outside enclosures on homes as the year progresses.
PST has installed a new internet hot spot with improved outdoor range at Calpine Community Center to allow people to work or participate in online education activities from their cars during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are working on additional free outdoor hotspots to make sure as many people as possible can access the internet affordably.
PST hotspots are free to the public. Locations of all our hotspots throughout the region are at our telecommunications website.
PST Board President