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California announces 18 new broadband projects to achieve 98% connectivity

Written by Ryan Johnston

California Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday announced 18 broadband infrastructure projects to begin building an open access network across much of the state.

Newsom’s office said the network will be state-owned and serve as a ‘mid-mile’ broadband infrastructure, meaning it will connect local networks in underserved areas to broadband service providers. distant. Each of the 18 projects aims to provide infrastructure to parts of the state that authorities say are currently unserved or underserved by broadband.

The projects are expected to be funded through a $ 6 billion investment in last mile and middle mile broadband that Newsom promulgated in July, although only $ 3.25 billion is spent on the middle mile network, the $ 2.75 billion remaining going to local governments, nonprofits and last mile connectivity projects. The intention is to term fund projects that provide the Internet to at least 98% of Californians, and the law requires that all projects, including those that have not yet been announced, be approved and funded by 2027. .

The California Department of Technology has released a map of the initial projects, but more should be planned in the near future, said Martha Guzman Aceves, commissioner at the California Public Utilities Commission. The availability of broadband in California was found to be highly stratified by income and race in a survey released by researchers at the University of Southern California and the California Emerging Technology Fund this year. More than a quarter of the state’s low-income residents do not have access to the internet or are only connected through a smartphone, while high-income households enjoy “near universal adoption.”

“These initial routes were identified to expedite projects in areas of the state that are not served due to the lack of open infrastructure to serve them. We are accelerating the selection of a diverse set of routes – those who are ready to build and those who are not ready to build, ”Aceves said in a press release. “This allows the state to partner with locals on these various projects and learn by doing, as we work simultaneously to finalize all necessary routes in the state.”

The initial list of statewide infrastructure projects is the result of a collaboration between the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Department of Transportation, and the California Department of Technology, as well as a third-party administrator called GoldenStateNet who is responsible for to manage the development, construction and maintenance of the intermediate mile network. The initial list of projects covers a wide range of geographies across California – including mountains and deserts – and is expected to require several different technologies to be completed, the governor’s office said in the press release.


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