CSAC Bulletin Article

Broadband Update: Local Gov Comments on BEAD Program due to CPUC Dec. 7

November 9, 2023

On November 7, 2023, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) released draft versions of Volume 1 and Volume 2 of the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program (BEAD) Initial Proposal for public review and comment.

CPUC is seeking comments from local governments and CSAC encourages counties to submit letters containing feedback and recommendations via email to BEAD@cpuc.ca.govComments close Thursday, December 7, 2023.

The BEAD Initial Proposal is due from the state to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) by the end of December 2023.

California received $1.86 billion in federal funding for the BEAD program via the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The BEAD funding will be used to deploy or upgrade broadband networks to ensure that everyone has access to reliable, affordable, high-speed Internet service.

On October 26, CSAC’s Government Finance and Administration (GFA) team attended the CPUC-hosted Technical Workshop in the BEAD proceeding (Rulemaking 23-02-016). As previously reported by CSAC, the all-day workshop included an overview of the BEAD program by a representative of NTIA, presentations by CPUC staff on key policy issues to be addressed in the BEAD Initial Proposal, and panel discussions of selected topics in the proceeding featuring representatives of parties in the proceeding. The workshop may be viewed in its entirety here and the slides presented at the workshop are available here.

Yesterday, the GFA team attended a CPUC-hosted Public Forum on the BEAD Program. The public forum was intended to provide an opportunity for the public to engage with the CPUC regarding access to essential communications services and service quality, particularly pertaining to access concerns raised in the CPUC’s proceeding to implement the BEAD Program. The public was encouraged to discuss all aspects of broadband service, especially whether broadband service affects access to critical information and vital services such as education, job search resources, and healthcare, as well as difficulties encountered with the quality and accessibility of internet service. 

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