County & Local Efforts to Address Challenge
The State of California and their Public Utility Commission (CPUC) has implemented a few key strategies to help promote Broadband. The first is the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF). Every ratepayer across the state has a State fee on their monthly phone bill that feeds into this fund (see the CASF item on your bill). The fund was created by the Governor's Broadband Task Force in 2006, and has been renewed and updated to continue offering financial incentive for providers to build and upgrade Internet access in unserved and underserved areas of California.
Second, the State created via the CPUC the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF), a non-profit corporation established pursuant to requirements in approving the mergers of SBC-AT&T and Verizon-MCI. The merged companies contributed a total of $60 million over 5 years to advance broadband. CETF works on projects that are funded from their own fund, the CASF, or a combination of the two with most requiring an applicant match.
Third, the State created a California Broadband Council to coordinate State efforts, resources, and assets to help promote broadband deployment. Various resources and news items can be found on their website.
Board of Supervisors Recent Actions
Implementation of a local last-mile broadband grant pilot project. (July 2019)
Letter of Support for CPUC Resolution T-17633 Approving transfer of CASF Grant Bright Fiber Project to Race Telecommunications, Inc. (January 2019)
Resolution 18-234: Resolution to support and promote local broadband expansion, access, and usage in Nevada County in coordination with Grass Valley and Nevada City (June 2018)
Letter of Support for AB 1665 (Garcia) – Internet For All Now Act (May 2017)
The County created the award winning Collaborative Technology Center as part of our main Library branch location in Nevada City. A wide collaboration of community partners came together to support and implement this project which brings free, ultra high speed 1Gbs Internet access on a wide variety of the newest wireless, computer, and tablet systems, in a dedicated technology use space for our local residents.
The Sierra Business Council has embarked on a new effort to re-energize local broadband activities. They have secured an CivicSpark Fellow to spend one year working on these efforts which include conducting new surveys, mapping high need areas, and developing a new Nevada County Broadband Plan. This plan is targeted for Board of Supervisors presentation and adoption in August 2019.