As a condition of approving the mergers of SBC/AT&T and Verizon/MCI, the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) ordered SBC/AT&T to commit $45 million and Verizon/MCI to commit $15 million ($60 million total) over five years to the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF).
The Commission established the CETF to achieve ubiquitous access to broadband and advanced services in California through the use of emerging technologies by the year 2010.
- Not intended to simply be a "build it and they will come" approach, the CETF will work to expand broadband adoption and use.
- The CETF will focus a significant amount of its resources on the needs of underserved communities and bridging the Digital Divide.
- At least $5 million will be earmarked to fund telemedicine applications that serve California’s underserved communities, particularly rural areas and facilities with a large number of indigent patients. Underserved communities include individuals, groups, and organizations that face telecommunications challenges or disadvantages due to physical disabilities, low incomes, inadequate telecommunications infrastructure, language and cultural differences, lack of technological understanding and/or equipment, and other constraints facing members of the state.
On July 3, 2006, Ms. Sunne Wright McPeak was announced as President and Chief Executive Officer of the CETF, effective November 20, 2006.