California Announces First Broadband Projects to Bridge the Digital Divide

California Announces First Broadband Projects to Bridge the Digital Divide

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CALIFORNIA - In an attempt to bridge the digital divide in California, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that 18 projects have been identified to begin work on a half-mile open access network that will provide the missing infrastructure pathways to bring broadband to the most remote communities.

As part of a US$6 billion broadband investment that was advanced in collaboration with legislative leaders earlier this year, the initial project locations are based in known underserved or unserved areas.

According to Newsom, the projects will connect to the core of the global Internet and interconnect to the last-mile infrastructure, which is the final leg that provides Internet service to a customer.

The initial 18 projects represent a range of geographic locations and technical approaches; some of them are being initiated in tribal communities, counties and cities such as Alpine; Amador; Calaveras; Central Coast; Coachella Valley; Colusa Area; Inyo; Kern; Kern/San Luis Obispo; Lake County Area; Los Angeles and South Los Angeles; Oakland; Orange; Plumas; Riverside/San Diego; San Bernardino; Siskiyou; and West Fresno.

State Chief Information Officer Amy Tong said, "A reliable broadband connection makes the difference between having access to full-service health care, education and employment or sometimes going without."

Separately, it was reported that the evaluation of project areas included consideration of public comments, prioritization of unserved or underserved areas of the state, and inclusion of tribal communities, cities and counties.

An unserved or underserved area is one in which households do not reliably have download speeds of at least 25 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps.

State partners implementing the middle mile initiative include the California Department of Technology, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and Caltrans. GoldenStateNet was selected as the third party administrator (TPA) to manage the development, procurement, construction, maintenance and operation of the statewide open access broadband network.

Source: MEXICO-NOW Staff