CSAC Bulletin Article

First Broadband Middle-Mile Projects Announced

November 18, 2021

Demonstrating the urgency and collaboration appropriate to the task, the state has announced the first 18 sections for the statewide open-access middle-mile network just a few short months after the network was authorized by SB 156.

Middle-mile infrastructure will not provide broadband service directly to consumers, but it will make it faster and cheaper for all internet service providers to provide last-mile service to both unserved and underserved households, as well as those who currently live in a broadband monopoly.

The 18 projects would establish the network in twenty-three counties across the state in both urban and rural areas. The locations were developed by the CPUC in collaboration with the network administrator, the California Department of Technology (CDT), and Caltrans. The locations of the initial sections are based on where the network can be built quickly, including where Caltrans is already planning highway work and where last-mile projects are being considered, and on serving unserved areas that have great need.

CSAC’s response to the announcement applauded this first step in building what has been called a “road to everywhere” that will transform the way schools, small businesses, healthcare organizations, and others can provide goods and services statewide. Currently, more than two million Californians, both urban and rural, are caught in the digital divide without access to broadband at modern speeds, and 15 million more are at the mercy of provider monopolies.

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