CSAC Bulletin Article

CSAC-Led Coalition Urges Action on Broadband

May 27, 2021

Responding to efforts to delay and dilute Governor Newsom’s $7 billion broadband investment, CSAC and other members of the California Broadband Coalition issued a sharply worded news release and Broadband Myths and Facts sheet yesterday.

The coalition includes the California Forward Action Fund, California School Business Officers, California Hospital Association, Urban Counties of California, and Rural County Representatives of California. The release counters many points in a letter from AT&T to Governor Newsom requesting that funds currently slated for a statewide open access middle mile network be diverted to other purposes that would directly benefit the incumbent broadband providers working to protect the local monopolies they enjoy that cover nearly half of the connections in the state.

The coalition news release asserts that opposition to the broadband spending package and efforts to delay its progress are affronts to the families and hardworking Californians—rural and urban— across California who are the backbone of our economy and yet have struggled with education, employment, and isolation during the pandemic.

AT&T’s letter argues that the new investment must directly connect unserved households and support low-income communities. They seem to miss the fact that the Governor’s budget proposal already fully funds last-mile construction, as well as subsidies for short-term affordability relief. The incumbent providers have all but stopped building to unserved communities, even when offered government subsidies, even pulling out of communities they currently serve, and then pile insult on injury by using their proprietary networks as an excuse to block others from accessing funding for last-mile projects to the same unserved and underserved communities where they refuse to build.

As CSAC and coalition partners work to preserve this broadband investment in the June state budget, County Supervisors are encouraged to call their legislators and to share this customizable support letternews release and Broadband Myths and Facts sheet with Legislators, urging this critical and foundational work move forward immediately.

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