California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) Broadband Adoption Account Background and History
Program Background and Initial Funding
On October 15, 2017, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1665 (Garcia) into law. This legislation amended the statutes governing the California Advanced Services Fund program (CASF), Public Utilities Code, §§ 281, 912.2, and 914.7 and added the Broadband Adoption Account (Adoption Account), providing an authorization of $20 million for the provision of grants. In June 2018, the Commission issued Decision (D). 18-06-032 which implemented provisions of AB 1665 and adopted new rules for administering the CASF Adoption Account. The first round of applications, under the new rules, occurred on August 31, 2018 with an award cap of $5 million. In February 2019, the Commission modified and clarified the Adoption Account rules in D.19-02-008 given the experience of the first round. There were, altogether, six application rounds. Funding was fully allocated at the end of the January 1, 2021, application cycle.
Adoption Account Resolutions and Decisions
On June 21, 2018, the Commission issued Decision (D.) 18-06-032 which adopted the Adoption Account application requirements and guidelines.
On February 21, 2019, the Commission issued D. 19-02-008 which made modifications and clarifications to the Adoption Account Application Requirements and Guidelines.
On March 14, 2019, the Commission approved Resolution T-17650 approving 3 projects. Only one project approved in T-17650, the Vietnamese American Community Center of the East Bay accepted the grant award.
On September 12, 2019, the Commission approved Resolution T-17663 approving 3 projects
On February 27, 2020, the Commission approved Resolution T-17683 approving 1 project.
On May 7, 2020, the Commission approved Resolution T-17697 which adopted criteria and a process for the distribution of grants from the Adoption Account to public schools and school districts in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. An amount not exceeding $5 million was set aside for this distribution which was facilitated by the California Department of Education (CDE). CDE provided a final report and data on the distribution as required by Resolution T-17697 (under Section F, Reporting) and can be found here.
On June 3, 2021, the Commission approved Resolution T-17732 which approved grant funding in the amount of $1,329,545 from the Broadband Adoption Account for 28 projects to ten applicants.
On September 13, 2021, the Commission issued D. 21-09-004 which expands eligibility for households that complete a digital literacy training course offered under the Broadband Adoption Account to receive take-home computing devices.
On May 19, 2022, the Commission issued D. 22-05-029 which made modifications and clarifications to the Adoption Account Application Requirements and Guidelines.
Broadband Adoption Gap Analysis
In June 2019, the CPUC Communications Division staff released an analysis on gaps in those subscribing to high-speed broadband internet. The Adoption Gap Analysis was ordered in Decision D.18-06-032 and identifies various demographic barriers to broadband adoption and provides information to support important program and grant decisions for the CASF Broadband Adoption Account.
The analysis concludes that income, of all the demographic barriers to adoption, is the most significant factor contributing to low adoption (subscription) rates. As a result, the analysis identifies the top ten communities with some of the lowest adoption rates and lowest incomes in California.
The full analysis can be found here: Broadband Adoption Gap Analysis.