CSAC Bulletin Article

County Support Urged for Broadband Budget Request

March 25, 2021

A CSAC-led coalition calling for the state to make an $8 billion Broadband budget investment is encouraging individual counties, school districts, other local agencies, and nonprofits to send letters of support. Our sample support letter (pdf) stresses the transformative possibilities of ubiquitous access to broadband.

Two more organizations joined the coalition this week and the letter making the request was delivered to all members of the California Senate and Assembly. Coalition members are meeting with representatives of Governor Newsom’s administration, leadership in both houses, and members of the legislative budget committees.

The need for expanded broadband access is irrefutable. It would provide immediate benefits to the households and businesses who currently lack access or have access only to inadequate speed or reliability. The state’s progress to reaching the goal of closing the Digital Divide has been steady, but slow, and the considerable resources now available to the state—including $26 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act and an approximately equivalent amount of one-time state general fund revenues—mean that now is the time to jumpstart these efforts.

The $8 billion request includes $6.8 billion for open access middle mile and 100 Mbps last mile fiber to all homes and businesses currently without it. However, we know that simply providing access cannot be the end of our efforts. That is why we are requesting the infrastructure investment be paired with $1.2 billion for programs to increase adoption.

CSAC is urging counties to send a letter of support to the Governor and their legislative delegations. Acting together, we can take this moment to make significant progress in closing the Digital Divide.

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