Governor Newsom signs landmark broadband legislation to help bridge the digital divide
Investing $ 6 billion to expand broadband infrastructure and improve Internet access for unserved and underserved communities
Part of California’s Comprehensive Return Plan to Accelerate State Recovery and Address Our Most Enduring Challenges
TRAVER – At a rural elementary school in Tulare County, Governor Gavin Newsom today signed legislation to advance the state’s commitment to bridging the digital divide by increasing equitable and affordable access to internet service broadband throughout California. With a multi-year investment of $ 6 billion, more Californians will be able to access broadband coverage through the construction of an open-access public network and last-mile projects that connect unserved households and businesses to local networks.
“As we work to rebuild California stronger than before, the state is committed to addressing the challenges exposed by the pandemic, including the digital divide that is holding back too many communities in a state known for its pioneering technology and its innovation economy, “said Governor Newsom. “This $ 6 billion investment will make broadband more accessible than ever, expanding opportunities across the spectrum for students, families and businessessses – enhanced educational supports to employment opportunities in health care and other essential services. I thank the legislature for its partnership on this extremely important step in ensuring that California’s economic recovery does not leave any part of our state behind. “
Governor Newsom signed SB 156 at Traver Joint Elementary School, a school serving diverse students in a rural community in Tulare County. The school distributed hotspot devices to students for internet access as part of the state’s cross-sector efforts launched during the pandemic.
Governor Newsom signs $ 6 billion broadband legislation.
The landmark legislation, announced last week in partnership with legislative leaders, advances the statewide broadband plan with extensive infrastructure prioritizing unserved and underserved areas. The legislation includes:
- $ 3.25 billion to build, operate and maintain a public network with open access, high capacity fiber lines that transport large amounts of data at higher speeds over longer distances between local networks.
- $ 2 billion to build last mile broadband connections that will connect homes and businesses to local networks. The legislation is speeding up the rollout of the project and allowing tribes and local governments to access this funding.
- $ 750 million for a loan loss reserve fund to strengthen the capacity of local governments and nonprofits to secure financing for broadband infrastructure.
- Established a position of broadband czar in the California Department of Technology and a broadband advisory committee with representatives from across state government and members appointed by the legislature.
Last year, the state mobilized businesses, business leaders and philanthropists through public-private partnerships to facilitate distance learning in needy school districts across the state. The effort connected students without high-speed internet or a suitable computing device at home with mobile hotspots, laptops, Chromebooks, tablets, and other donated devices. The legislation signed today takes a comprehensive, long-term approach to addressing the deficiencies in broadband infrastructure that still plague rural and low-income communities, bringing the state closer to building internet service. affordable broadband for all communities.
For the full text of the bill, visit: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov