CPUC Awards Second Round of Grants to Local Governments To Help Close the Digital Divide
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today announced it has made its largest award of State broadband funds to local governments to-date by providing $14 million in broadband technical assistance grants to 28 local governments to support efforts to close the digital divide. These are in addition to grants announced earlier this month.
Seven cities and 21 different counties received Local Agency Technical Assistance grants from the CPUC as part of a larger effort by the Golden State Connect Authority to build and operate open access fiber-to-the-home networks in California’s rural counties.
“The relatively high cost of deployment in many rural areas has historically left these communities underserved by traditional providers,” said Commissioner Darcie L. Houck. “Technical Assistance grants will aid local agencies and Tribes in their efforts to fill the gaps left behind, helping to ensure economic opportunity and public safety for rural residents, businesses, and visitors.”
The Golden State Connect Authority is a joint powers authority created by the 38-county Rural County Representatives of California for the purpose of increasing access to reliable, affordable high-speed Internet for the residents and businesses of those counties.
“I’d particularly like to thank Golden State Connect Authority and their local government members for their work in this area,” Commissioner Houck added. “The CPUC values their partnership with us in our broadband initiatives and is excited to support this suite of projects.”
Each approximately $500,000 grant will be used to reimburse local governments for the costs of network design services for unserved areas in the applicants’ jurisdictions. In a second phase, the applicants will engineer projects that will provide service to households and businesses that, upon completion, will reliably meet or exceed 100 Mbps speed, both uploading and downloading. These projects are planned to be completed within a 24-month timeline.
The Local Agency Technical Assistance grant program supports tribes and local governments – who are most knowledgeable about the state of broadband in their communities – in their efforts to expand broadband service to unserved Californians. The funds are for planning to facilitate high-speed broadband infrastructure projects and the program will distribute at least $50 million in grants, including a $5 million set-aside for tribes. It’s a key step in California’s $6 billion Broadband for All investment.
The grants awarded are:
- To the cities of Gonzales, Greenfield, King City, Oroville, Soledad, Susanville, and the Town of Mammoth Lakes.
- To the counties of Alpine, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Glenn, Lake, Lassen, Mariposa, Mendocino, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Nevada, Plumas, San Benito, Sierra, Tehama, Tulare, Yolo, and Yuba.
These grants follow the initial award of 12 grants last week. The application window remains open for new applications.
More information and summaries of the grants: www.cpuc.ca.gov/industries-and-topics/internet-and-phone/broadband-implementation-for-california/local-agency-technical-assistance.
The CPUC regulates services and utilities, protects consumers, safeguards the environment, and assures Californians’ access to safe and reliable utility infrastructure and services. For more information on the CPUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.