CETF: Let’s Talk Broadband!

 

Welcome to the Fall 2018 edition of Let’s Talk Broadband! Did you know that an estimated 13 million Californians are unconnected or underconnected to the Internet at home? As school gets into full swing, please read our story of Oakland High School sophomore Jesus Toscano. Jesus’s family learned about discount Internet service through Tech Exchange of Oakland, a partner of the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF). Jesus is now in a college prep program at Oakland High School with dreams of working at Pixar. Jesus’s success story can be replicated throughout California.

Many organizations and civic leaders are stepping up as Digital Champions and we have lots of good news to report: See the Attached PDF

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CETF 2018 Digital Divide Follow-up Survey

The California Emerging Technology Fund has published the 2018 Digital Divide Follow-up Survey. The survey was conducted by Davis Research who re-interviewed a subset of Californians participating in the 2017 Annual Survey. The survey finds many low-income Californians cannot afford broadband at home and are not aware that discount options exist. The survey also found that many Californians’ access to the Internet changes year-to-year, in part due to the cost.

Among the critical findings:

In 2017, the survey found 31% of Californians are “unconnected” or “under-connected”—they have no access at all (13%) or only access the Internet at home through a mobile phone (18%). Californians’ access to home Internet fluctuates from year-to-year as some residents who were previously unconnected or under-connected migrate up to computer access, while others who formerly had computer access migrate down. “This churn is most likely the result of changing economic circumstances affecting the state’s householders,” said Mark DiCamillo, who directed both the follow-up survey for Davis Research and the CETF 2017 broadband study. Among those currently unconnected or under-connected to the Internet at home, 82% say fully connected service is “too expensive” for them.

In addition to lack of affordability, the survey reveals there is low awareness of discount Internet service options that most major ISPs in California make available to eligible low-income households. Of households most likely to qualify, 72 percent have never heard of these offers. To learn about low-cost, affordable Internet programs in your area visit:
http://www.internetforallnow.org/get_affordable_internet_today.

Low-income households with no Internet access or a mobile phone-only connection tell us they are at a disadvantage when accessing online benefits and services. According to households re-interviewed in 2018, they are at a disadvantage to: learn about or get access to government services (51%), do job searches and apply for work online (50%), assist their children’s education (45%), get health and medical information or communicate with a doctor (45%) and gain new career skills through online classes or training (43%).

It is embarrassing that in a state known as the world’s innovator, almost a third of the residents continue to be disenfranchised from taking full advantage of online educational, healthcare, job and civic engagement opportunities, and even public services.

Full Survey is HERE

It is more than embarrassing; it is the tragedy of failed leadership in Sacramento. Other states and counties with fewer resources than California have solved the problem and provided the critical infrastructure, just like water, power, transportation infrastructure and waste management.  The tragedy is that we can spend billions on high-speed rail to nowhere, and billions to control climate change which is a natural cycle all while denying Californias’ access to critical communications infrastructure.

CETF: Let’s Talk Broadband

Sunne Wright McPeak, President, and CEO, California Emerging Technology Fund writes in the CETF newsletter introduction:

In this Summer 2018 edition, we are thrilled to feature former Federal Communications Commission member Mignon Clyburn, a passionate and effective advocate for Digital Inclusion who cares deeply about the issues California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) supports. Commissioner Clyburn joined CETF at a recent Digital Inclusion Roundtable co-hosted with The Greenlining Institute and The Utility Reform Network (TURN) on the occasion of the institute’s 25th anniversary. In other news: CETF, The Greenlining Institute, and TURN are jointly urging the FCC to require Internet Service Providers to make public critical affordable broadband adoption data. Commissioner Clyburn supports this effort and issued a powerful statement on her final day as Commissioner.

Please also read the Q&A with Amy Tong, Chief Information Officer for the California Department of Technology and Chair of the California Broadband Council on her plans to promote public-private partnerships. And get an update from the first School2Home Northern California Regional Leadership Collaborative.

The CETF Newsletter is HERE.

 

CETF Report: Catalyst for Action

The California Emerging Technology Fund has published their annual report celebrating ten years of achievement.

Cov_CETF_2017decadeAR

10 Years of Achievement in Closing the Digital Divide

The California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) has been on a mission over the last decade to forge partnerships and foster public policy to close the Digital Divide. This work has been strategically-focused, results-oriented, and people-centered. CETF has been guided by a Strategic Action Plan adopted by the Board of Directors in 2007 after reviewing existing research and gathering input statewide from community leaders about what works to advance Digital Inclusion. It was peer reviewed by more than 60 stakeholders convened by the California Foundation on the Environment and Economy. It became clear through this fact-finding and listening process that the challenges were too great and the state was too big for CETF alone to get the job done—CETF had to become a “catalyst for action” by setting overarching goals for broadband deployment and adoption and then enlisting existing civic leaders and community organizations to help achieve them. We had to align efforts and leverage resources.

The Full Report is HERE.

I will do some analysis of each section of the report that is applicable to rural broadband. I did not agree with all the finding of past reports, as rural Sierra Counties were left out of the surveys. I am hoping rural Sierra communities concerns and issues are addressed in the report. Stay Tuned