CPUC To Consider Rules for Federal Broadband Funding
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), in an ongoing commitment to help the state bridge the digital divide, today said it will develop rules to determine grant funding, eligibility, and compliance for funds distributed to California under the federal Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, created by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) of 2021.
The $42.45 billion BEAD Program, signed into law by President Biden on November 15, 2021, is administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The NTIA will allocate funding based on the share of unserved locations within each eligible state or territory. These unserved locations are determined in accordance with the broadband maps created by the Federal Communications Commission.
On July 1, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom designated the CPUC as the administrator of the BEAD Program for California. On December 20, 2022, the Biden Administration awarded the CPUC $4.9 million for BEAD Initial Planning Funds. At the same time, the Biden Administration announced the award of $4 million in a State Digital Equity Planning Grant to the California Department of Technology (CDT). The CPUC and CDT will coordinate efforts as BEAD and Digital Equity programs are planned and implemented.
“This program is critical to achieving the state’s Broadband for All objectives,” said CPUC President Alice Reynolds. “With this Rulemaking, we kick off an in-depth public engagement process to develop the roadmap for how these funds will be used in California. I look forward to collaborating with stakeholders across the state, including local governments, tribes, regional broadband consortia, digital equity advocates, labor organizations, and Internet service providers. This outreach is essential and will ensure we are using these funds as effectively and equitably as possible to build sustainable networks that will offer future-proof, reliable, and affordable service to unserved and underserved regions of the state.”
“There are still gaps in connectivity in both rural and urban California. This effort will allow us to leverage federal money towards addressing those gaps,” added Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma.
The proceeding opened today will provide a public forum to develop BEAD Program rules for California.
The proposal voted on is available at docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M502/K359/502359503.PDF.
More information on the CPUC’s other efforts in broadband implementation for California is available at www.cpuc.ca.gov/industries-and-topics/internet-and-phone/broadband-implementation-for-california.
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.