Published in Center for Economic Development News, Summer 2019
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:
- Consortia continue working with local governments to discuss potential CASF infrastructure applications in priority areas and to discuss best policy approaches for counties and towns to support expansion of broadband infrastructure and services. Consortia attended a Lake County Economic Development Meeting in Kelseyville (April 17th and June 25th, 2019) to discuss a Master Broadband Plan for Lake County.
- Consortia worked to identify CASF priority unserved areas in each consortia county (using latest CPUC broadband availability data from March 1st, 2019) and shared these priority unserved areas information with incumbent, competitive and new entrant ISPs assessing potential project applications for CASF infrastructure grants and complementary USDA Reconnect Program grants.
- Consortia reached out to ISPs in all 10 counties and provided detailed information on the rules and application process along with relevant data/information which helped ISPs to carry out business assessments. Also generated detailed maps of eligible areas including potential funding eligibility score (from 60% to 100%).
- Additionally, consortia reached out to CAF2 grantees that might be interested in complementary CASF projects in unserved priority areas next to CAF2 areas.
- Consortia provided assistance to ISPs to prepare CASF Infrastructure Applications, including providing data/information (broadband and demographics) relevant to geographic project areas and requesting letters of support from local governments, elected officials, anchor institutions and community based organizations.
- As a result, of these efforts, two ISPS, Frontier Communications and Plumas Sierra Telecom, filed a total of six projects to serve around 1,100 unserved households in hard to reach rural areas in the counties of Modoc, Lassen and Plumas.
- Consortia was present in the following broadband meetings in Sacramento: CETF Board of Expert Advisors Roundtable (March 7th, 2019), California Broadband Council Meeting (March 21st and July 18th, 2019), CPUC CASF Workshop (April 29, 2019), CPUC CD En Banc (May 20, 2019) and CETF-CAFWD Digital Inclusion Roundtable.
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.