Light Saber Project CASF

Broadband Implementation for California

In July 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed historic broadband legislation into law to help bridge the digital divide and provide reliable and affordable internet access to all Californians. Senate Bill 156 (Chapter 112, Statutes of 2021) expands the state’s broadband fiber infrastructure and increases internet connectivity for families and businesses.

The goal of this investment is to provide equitable access to high-speed broadband to unserved and underserved populations in California. The $6 billion is allocated for the following:

  • $3.25 billion for an open-access statewide broadband middle-mile network,
  • $2 billion for broadband last mile infrastructure projects,
  • $750 million for a loan loss reserve to support local government broadband infrastructure development, and
  • $50 million for local agency technical assistance grants including funding for Tribal entities. 

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is implementing these investments and requesting public input through the Broadband Infrastructure Deployment Proceeding Rulemaking 20-09-001 and through the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) Rulemaking 20-08-021. Here is a summary of the budget package and an overview presentation about broadband implementation in California.

Open-Access Middle-Mile Network

The State of California will acquire, build, maintain and operate an essential open-access statewide middle-mile network, which will be overseen by the California Department of Technology (CDT). The CPUC requested formal public comments twice on the open-access middle-mile. Here is an overview of public comments the CPUC received in response to an August 6, 2021 Ruling requesting input on middle-mile locations and a September 9, 2021 Ruling focused on network characteristics.

Read more about the Open-Access Middle-Mile here.

Last Mile Federal Funding Account

In addition to the middle-mile network, the SB 156 Broadband Infrastructure Package includes $2 billion to build last-mile infrastructure to provide Californians with access to high-speed broadband service. The money will be issued through the Federal Funding Account and administered by the CPUC.

Read more about the Federal Funding Account.

Local Agency Technical Assistance

A $50 million grant program to reimburse eligible local governments and Tribal entities for pre-project costs associated with work that facilitates broadband network deployment projects to communities lacking sufficient Internet. On February 24, 2022, the CPUC adopted the technical assistance decision and program guidelines (D. 22-02-026) as part of the California Advanced Services Fund Rulemaking 20-08-021.

Read more about the Local Agency Technical Assistance grant program.

Loan Loss Reserve

A $750 million Broadband Loan Loss Reserve Fund supports costs related to the financing of local broadband infrastructure development. The reserve fund expands local governments' ability to secure financing for building last-mile projects, with an emphasis on public broadband networks. The CPUC’s procedural schedule for establishing the program is outlined in a September 16th ruling in the California Advanced Services Fund Rulemaking 20-08-021. A staff proposal for implementing this fund, including a request for public comments, is anticipated by Fall 2022. 

Read more about the Broadband Loan Loss Reserve Fund.

Participate and Learn More

Provide Input to the CPUC

The Open-Access Middle-Mile Network and Last-Mile Federal Funding Account are part of the Broadband Infrastructure Deployment Proceeding Rulemaking 20-09-001. The Local Agency Technical Assistance program and the Loan Loss Reserve Fund are part of the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) Rulemaking 20-08-021

The CPUC's subscription service allows the public to track these proceedings. Members of the public can formally participate by becoming a party in a proceeding or provide informal public comments to the CPUC. The CPUC’s Public Advisor’s Office can provide guidance with help with how to participate in these processes as a formal party or via informal public comments. 

Participate in Public Meetings

Middle-Mile Advisory Committee Meetings:  monitors the development and construction of the middle-mile network.


December 15, 2022: CPUC Approves Environmental Review for Project To Bring Broadband to Rural California To Serve Tribes and Others (CPUC Press Release)

December 15, 2022: CPUC Approves Funding for Public Housing Broadband Projects (CPUC Press Release)

Learn More

Webinar - Last Mile Broadband - CPUC Funding Programs to Close the Digital Divide

CPUC Broadband Implementation for California

CDT Middle-Mile Advisory Committee

Broadband Deployment, Affordability, and Digital Equity Programs Brochure

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