Northeast and Upstate California Connect Consortia Update

From the Northeast and Upstate California Connect Consortia News Letter:

The Northeast and Upstate California Connect Consortia continues working throughout its 10-county region with the goal of improving high speed internet connectivity throughout rural Northern California. Led by Consortia Manager David Espinoza, the team has been actively engaging its communities to gather necessary data and information to meet the needs of its businesses and residents. Below are the most recent highlights of Consortia activities over the last quarter:

Based on priority areas feedback from local governments, Consortia remains committed to supporting Internet Service Providers (ISPs) across the Northern California region to apply for funding to expand or upgrade broadband infrastructure and service in the region. This includes the most recent (May 1, 2019) applications for CPUC CASF Infrastructure grant funding, and USDA Reconnect Program grants (May 31, 2019). Consortia supported Plumas Sierra Telecommunications and Frontier Communications in their CASF applications to expand broadband services in Modoc, Lassen and Plumas Counties.

Communicating with ISPs to receive feedback and identify perceived challenges and barriers for infrastructure deployments in rural areas. This information will help to provide recommendations to local governments in order to streamline permit processes.

Developing broadband asset inventories by soliciting information on publicly owned assets from communities throughout the region; This includes conduit, poles, public-right-of-way, towers, buildings, etc. These asset inventories will help local governments to establish partnerships or develop master lease agreements for broadband deployments.

Consortia are developing master broadband plans which include broadband infrastructure expansion, policy and adoption recommendations and strategies for regional local governments. Master Broadband Plans have been completed for the counties of Glenn and Tehama; Lake, Modoc and Siskiyou County plans are in progress.

Ongoing work with local governments to develop model policies and ordinances for counties and cities, which are aimed to reduce technical and economic barriers and achieve cost-effective broadband infrastructure deployments.

Coordination with California Telehealth Network (CTN) for alignment of goals and referral plans. Staff reached out to rural clinics in the consortia region to share information on Federal and State funding opportunities and facilitated coordination with CTN to apply for this funding.

Quarterly online webinars for local government elected officials and staff, regional partners, local broadband stakeholders, ISPs, community anchor institutions and others. The Spring, 2019 webinar presented a tutorial on the CPUC California Interactive Broadband Map.

Worked with experts to generate a survey about availability and adoption of telehealth services in rural healthcare institutions in our consortium region. Rolled out phone and email surveys to rural clinics across our region.

Through diligent outreach and communication campaigns, the consortia are rallying residence and business broadband customers to download and run the CPUC’s CalSPEED app and complete our online business broadband survey.

How YOU can help:
Gathering accurate information regarding internet speeds from businesses is critical to proving the case that improved broadband service is needed in rural California. You can help by download the CalSPEED application to your desktop computers and run the CalSPEED speed tests daily. CalSPEED desktop data validates internet speed and capacity, information that is critically needed to move potential projects forward.

For additional information about the Upstate California Connect Consortia, visit www.upcalbroadband.org. For more information about the Northeast California Connect Consortia, visit www.necalbroadband.org. Or, contact the Consortia Manager David Espinoza via email at despinozaaguilar@csuchico.edu.

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