Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday announced the first round of 18 broadband infrastructure projects that are part of this year’s historic $6 billion plan to bridge the digital divide. The middle-mile initiative includes a range of projects across the state to increase internet access for unserved and underserved communities.
“A reliable broadband connection makes the difference between having access to full-service health care, education and employment or sometimes going without,” said State CIO Amy Tong in a press release. “Through a historic partnership between our Governor, the Legislature, state agencies and a third-party administrator, we are taking immediate action to improve connectivity for Californians in the northern, central and southern parts of the state.”
The 18 projects range across the following counties and regions: Alpine County; Amador County; Calaveras County; Central Coast; Coachella Valley; Colusa Area; Inyo County; Kern County; Kern/San Luis Obispo Area; Lake County Area; Los Angeles and South Los Angeles; Oakland; Orange County; Plumas Area; Riverside/San Diego Area; San Bernardino County; Siskiyou Area; and West Fresno. A list and map of the projects are posted online.
State agencies implementing the middle-mile initiative include the California Department of Technology, California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and Caltrans.
Nonprofit GoldenStateNet was selected as the Third-Party Administrator to manage the development and operation of the statewide open-access middle-mile broadband network.
The Middle-Mile Advisory Committee, chaired by State CIO Amy Tong with state officials from the executive and legislative branches, oversees the initiative.
“Equity remains our highest purpose in expanding the open-access middle-mile network. These initial sites are only the beginning, and I look forward to the tangible improvements this work will deliver to residents of our state,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin, in a press release.
Last summer, the governor approved SB 156, initiating the creation of a statewide open-access middle mile network.