18 projects in tribal communities, counties and cities across the state mark first step in creating open-access middle-mile network to provide missing broadband infrastructure
Part of state’s $6 billion investment to expand broadband infrastructure and enhance internet access for unserved and underserved communities
Advancing California’s commitment to bridge the digital divide, Governor Gavin Newsom has announced that the state has identified 18 projects to begin work on an open-access middle-mile network that will provide missing infrastructure paths to bring broadband to all communities.
As part of the historic $6 billion broadband investment advanced in partnership with legislative leaders earlier this year, the initial project locations are based on known unserved and underserved areas across the state. The projects will connect to the core of the global internet and interconnect to last-mile infrastructure, which is the final leg that provides internet service to a customer.
“California is committed to taking on the challenges laid bare by the pandemic, including the digital divide holding back too many communities across the state,” said Governor Newsom. “These projects are the first step to delivering on our historic investment that will ensure all Californians have access to high-quality broadband internet, while also creating new jobs to support our nation-leading economic recovery.”
The initial 18 projects represent a range of geographic locations and technical approaches. Projects are being initiated in the following tribal communities, counties and cities: Alpine County; Amador County; Calaveras County; Central Coast; Coachella Valley; Colusa Area; Inyo County; Kern County; Kern/San Luis Obispo Area; Lake County Area; Los Angeles and South Los Angeles; Oakland; Orange County; Plumas Area; Riverside/San Diego Area; San Bernardino County; Siskiyou Area; and West Fresno.
A map and additional information on the initial projects can be found here.
“A reliable broadband connection makes the difference between having access to full-service health care, education and employment or sometimes going without,” said State Chief Information Officer Amy Tong. “Through a historic partnership between our Governor, the Legislature, state agencies and a third-party administrator, we are taking immediate action to improve connectivity for Californians in the northern, central and southern parts of the state.”
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 has households that do not reliably have download speeds of at least 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) and upload of at least 3 Mbps.
State partners implementing the middle-mile initiative include the California Department of Technology, California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and Caltrans. GoldenStateNet was selected as the Third-Party Administrator (TPA) to manage the development, acquisition, construction, maintenance and operation of the statewide open-access middle-mile broadband network. As the TPA, GoldenStateNet will partner with key stakeholder groups across the state to investigate the best technical, financial and operational models to meet the needs of the project sites.