SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Kevin Jackson

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Golden Bear Broadband Is Formed To Bring Broadband to Rural Northern California

Native Business Enterprises (NBE) and Siskiyou Telephone Company have joined forces to form Golden Bear Broadband (GBB LLC) to implement a comprehensive fiber-based broadband capability across 16 rural Northern California counties, the Northern California Regional Middle-Mile Infrastructure (NCRMMI).

GBB LLC will use the NCRMMI plan, developed over the past year by the Northeastern and Upstate California Connect Consortia, to secure the capital funds to implement a robust, comprehensive, cohesive, and diverse broadband capability across Butte, Colusa, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Plumas, Shasta, Siskiyou, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, and Yolo counties. Once implemented, GBB LLC will manage and operate NCRMMI to serve the 1.634 million Californians in this region of the State for the next several decades.

The NCRMMI has been designed to serve three primary purposes. First, NCRMMI will be a robust and redundant backhaul infrastructure that is needed throughout Northern California, but which does not currently exist. NCRMMI is needed to provide the quantity and quality of services to businesses, government entities, residential customers, anchor institutions (schools, colleges, universities, hospitals and public safety agencies), Native American communities, and other customers throughout these 16 counties.

Second, NCRMMI has been designed to provide one or more major interconnection points in each county which will link to countywide backbone system infrastructures and through them, to last-mile infrastructures in communities. The Northeastern and Upstate California Connect Consortia have developed conceptual designs for a countywide backbone system for each of the 16 counties.

With NCRMMI in place, users will have diverse access to communications resources and capabilities throughout the state, the nation, and the world at broadband speeds that exceed the standards set by the state and nation as necessary for full participation in our 21st century technological society. Thanks to the infrastructure fiber-optic base, these speeds will be easily increased as these standards increase.

Third, NCRMMI has been designed to ensure potentially more than 90 major anchor sites have fiber connectivity directly to NCRMMI, or to individual countywide backbone systems that connect to NCRMMI.

In essence, NCRMMI has been designed to be more than just a “regional middle-mile” infrastructure. It is the foundation to providing broadband services to this region of California.

ABOUT GBB LLC

GBB has two companies forming its membership, Native Business Enterprises (NBE) and Siskiyou Telephone. These companies bring diverse backgrounds and experience to GBB. Siskiyou is a communications company that has over 100 years of experience in providing a wide range of telecommunications services to rural areas within northern California. NBE is an assertive start-up company led by seasoned principals long-steeped in experience and knowledge of what Native American communities need. Both companies are minority business enterprises.

Native Business Enterprises, LLC

Native Business Enterprises (NBE) is a joint venture between the Ione Band of Miwok Indians, one of the over 111 federally recognized California Indian Tribes and NativeOne Financial Holdings LLC, a native-owned company. Established in March 2012, NBE has created a highly profitable business model and an economic engine that is capable of a successful entrance into the US government procurement business while creating jobs and careers. NBE is licensed and certified as a priority preference SDB/MBE (Small Disadvantaged Business & Minority Business Enterprise) company, structured as a "Section 17 Tribal Corporation"; enacted by the Congress of the United States under the Indian Reorganization Act of June 1934 (48 Stat.984), 25 U.S.C.-46.

Although NBE is based in Plymouth, California on the Ione Miwok reservation, the plan is to engage all native Indian reservations in Northern California to become a part of NBE and especially to become involved with the development of NCRMMI by GBB.

Siskiyou Telephone Company

A true pioneer in the history of bringing telecommunications capabilities to rural America, Siskiyou Telephone was founded in 1896 by a group of local business leaders to serve a number of communities in Siskiyou County. Over its first 60 years Siskiyou Telephone grew into a 2,256 square mile service area. In 1955 a flood dealt a deathly blow to its aging plant, but the leadership secured a loan from the Rural Utilities Service in 1957 and by 1960 Siskiyou Telephone was again flourishing with very modern technology including a microwave system. Struck by another flood in 1965 the company launched a long-range program of utilizing buried cable.

Over the past five decades Siskiyou Telephone has had an aggressive strategy of updating its technology to provide its customers the latest capabilities and services. In 2006, Siskiyou Telephone launched a 15-year program to rebuild its plant in preparation to provide “fiber to the home” throughout its entire serving areas.

Siskiyou Telephone, through a century of leadership from the Dannenbrink-Hendricks family, and its current President James Lowers, Siskiyou Telephone brings to GBB a deep history and knowledge of what it takes to serve customers in rural regions and the tenacity and skills to make NCRMMI a success. Siskiyou is a women minority business enterprise (WMBE).

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