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CPUC Approves Grants to Increase Broadband Adoption For Public Housing

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Today we approved grant funding for a public housing adoption project and authorized the release of grant funding to a broadband infrastructure project in our continual efforts to help bridge the digital divide in California.

At our Voting Meeting the Commissioners authorized grants from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) to the Oakland Housing Authority and Cal.net, Inc. for programs to expand broadband adoption and infrastructure deployment.

We allocated $98,495 from the CASF to the Oakland Housing Authority for the Lockwood Learning Center project to provide access to digital literary training and computer-based job skills training for up to 804 low income residents in the Lockwood Gardens Apartments. Tech Exchange (formerly Oakland Technology Exchange) is the designated non-for-profit contractor who will work with the Oakland Housing Authority to provide public outreach, digital literacy instruction, parts of the curriculum, refurbished computers, and technology support for the proposed project.  

On January 14, 2016, the CPUC conditionally authorized a CASF grant of $1,139,755 to Cal.net, Inc. to construct the El Dorado North broadband project, subject to the CPUC's completion of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review.  Today, the CPUC approved the Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration prepared in compliance with CEQA for Cal.net's El Dorado North broadband project and authorized the release of $1,139,755 to Cal.net to construct the project that will provide high-speed Internet service and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony service to the northern regions of El Dorado County. This will allow Cal.net to extend their service availability in the region. The current lack of broadband infrastructure places the county at a substantial economic disadvantage.  The grant amount represents 60 percent of the total estimated project of $1,899,591.

The proposed projects will provide a comprehensive approach to the addressed issues around the digital divide for residents of underserved communities.

CASF promotes deployment of high-quality advanced communication services to Californians.  Most program funds are for infrastructure deployment.  Some funds are for broadband adoption, awareness, training, and access.

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