High-speed broadband deployment advocacy group Next Century Cities wants the governor to bring the California legislature back for a special session to consider a broadband bill, SB 1130.
“With support from the state, California municipalities can expand their efforts to support residents who are still desperately in need of connectivity solutions,” the group told California Gov. Gavin Newsom. “In the same way that California has been home to technology and innovation, it is also home to a stark digital divide.”
Currently, California’s broadband deployment plan is that no later than December 31, 2022, the state will approve funding for infrastructure projects “that will provide broadband access to no less than 98 percent of California households,” according to Next Century Cities.
The new law would stretch that timeline by two years, but increase the speed of what service must be deployed, reports Multichannel. According to SB 1130, “[N]o later than December 31, 2024, [the state shall] approve funding for infrastructure projects that will provide high-capacity [25 mbps downstream and 25 mbps upstream], future-proof infrastructure, as defined, based on current engineering and scientific information available at the time of program application, to no less than 98 percent of California households, with a latency that is sufficiently low to allow real-time interactive applications to unserved areas and unserved high-poverty areas, and provide last-mile infrastructure to unserved areas and unserved high-poverty areas.”
“Through the measures proposed in SB 1130, California can improve broadband connectivity across the state, ensuring that all Californians can connect with educators, employers, and healthcare providers during this challenging time,” says the group.
“Using your authority as Governor to open a special session to reconsider SB 1130, the California legislature will have an opportunity to discuss how local governments across the state are working to meet their communities’ broadband needs. Ultimately, increasing connectivity options will help to ensure that California residents have the requisite connectivity to remain safe and fully recover from the pandemic,” the group told Newsom in a letter.
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