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
Resolution authorizing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Golden State Connect Authority and the County of Nevada regarding the construction, improvement, operation, and maintenance of broadband internet access service in the unincorporated areas of the County
Resolution 22-1088 approving a contract amendment to the Last Mile Broadband Grant Agreement between the County of Nevada and Nevada County Fiber bringing the cost per home in line with the current financial climate.
Resolution 22-457 authorizing a grant application to the Local Agency Technical Assistance Grant Program, for funding in the amount of $500,000 for the expansion of broadband availability to un-served neighborhoods in Nevada County
Resolution 22-456 approving and amendment to the contract between County of Nevada and Ascent Environmental, Inc. to develop a Broadband Programmatic Environmental Impact Report (EIR) extending the term of the contract from August 30, 2022 to June 30, 2023 to allow additional time to complete the EIR.
Resolution 22-385 approving an amendment to the Last-Mile Broadband Grant Agreement between the County of Nevada and Nevada County Fiber, Inc. to provide underground fiber optic internet to an under-served community in the Banner Mountain area, extending the termination date to October 31, 2022 to allow for final project wrap-up and invoicing.
Resolution 22-013 establishing the policy of the County of Nevada to facilitate and promote the development, access, and equitable usage of broadband infrastructure throughout all Nevada County to provide residents with critical services, economic opportunities, and higher standard of quality of life, and to encourage and facilitate upgrades to existing broadband infrastructure that ensure public and private sectors have access to sufficient broadband speeds to support consumer demand for new and evolving uses over time.
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.