State investment in broadband infrastructure can’t wait – San Bernardino Sun

I can’t wait for the progress of broadband. California is federally funded, and the $ 7 billion broadband budget package proposed by Governor Gavin Newsom is currently prioritizing this funding for this purpose.

The state legislature’s joint plan unnecessarily delays broadband investment with few details and kicks the can of infrastructure construction at least a year later.

There is no reason for lawmakers to pull this out. Completely hampering broadband advances will disproportionately affect the most lucrative population, especially low-income, Latino, black, indigenous, and Californians with disabilities. A recent state-wide survey by the California Emerging Technology Fund and the University of Southern California found that more than one in four low-income households was unconnected or under-connected.

Ultimately, delayed access means that access has been denied. For example, in Riverside County, 750,000 people have access to only one provider of broadband at the latest speeds, and 101,000 have no such access.

Governor Newsom’s proposal includes a viable plan backed by CPUC research. Last year, broadband access proved not to be a luxury. It is a modern necessity and is as important as electricity and clean water. But today, more than 2.3 million Californians lack broadband access, and about 15.4 million Californians have only one or no provider option to use broadband at speeds that meet today’s needs.

Building an open-access middle-mile network, like long-distance power lines, will sooner or later open the door for more Internet providers to reach underserved homes and businesses. It will bring greater competitive opportunities and pave the way for lower rates, faster speeds and better customer service.

A state budget surplus combined with federal infrastructure funding is a rare opportunity. Sure, lawmakers need to make sure that the money is used carefully, but that’s not the reason for the delay. Investing public funds to provide public infrastructure for the public good is not only a logical and prudent use of the lump sum currently available, but also a fundamental role of government.

Rather than postponing action as in some proposals, lawmakers should accept and move forward with this important long-term solution. Not only do we need to help Californians thrive and create a more competitive market, but we can also position the state to take advantage of additional federal funding when it becomes available.

State investment in broadband infrastructure can’t wait – San Bernardino Sun Source link State investment in broadband infrastructure can’t wait – San Bernardino Sun

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