Community Input Needed for California’s Historic Broadband Investments

1024 576 Nadine Ono

Fiber optic installation (Photo: FirstEnergy/Flickr)

This year, California has made a historic investment to ensure all the state’s residents have access to adequate broadband. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) now needs your input on the Open Access Middle-Mile Network implementation plan and GO-Biz needs information to help inform the state’s broadband action plan.

According to the CPUC, California has more underserved households than any other state with more than 50% of rural households, nearly 30% of tribal households and nearly 50% of urban households lacking any broadband service at 100 Mbps (modern benchmark speed).

To provide equitable access to broadband, the legislature passed, and Governor Gavin Newsom signed, a $6 billion investment in broadband infrastructure and two companion bills — SB4 introduced by Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach) and AB 14 introduced by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters).

The Open Access Middle-Mile Network Plan invests $3.75 billion in middle-mile infrastructure (high-capacity fiber optic cables that traverse long distances to connect communities to the “internet backbone”). According to the CPUC, the plan promotes affordability, enables “last-mile infrastructure” and will create tens of thousands of jobs in the process. You can find the overview of the CPUC implementation of the legislation here.

CA FWD encourages its partners to take the following two actions:

First, submit a public comment to the CPUC about the Open Access Middle-Mile Plan. To provide a public comment online to the CPUC, click here.

Second, participate in the GO-Biz Broadband Community Survey. This survey will inform GO-Biz as it collaborates with other state agencies to contribute to the State of California Broadband Action Plan. To participate in the survey by October 20, click here.

With the new investment, the Regional Broadband Consortia, a group of regional leaders and experts in broadband, may be an influential force in implementing the state’s new plan. Additionally, CA FWD and other partners signed on to the California Emerging Technology Fund’s recently released “Check List of Best Practices for Local Governments” to achieve digital equity in California.

The Open Access Middle-Mile Network Plan, the Consortia and ensuring that all Californians have access to broadband will be a hot topic at the California Economic Summit November 9-10 in Monterey. To attend the Summit and participate in these vital discussions, register today.


Nadine Ono

All stories by: Nadine Ono