California Voice: Broadband for all can revive post-pandemic economy
7 Jun 2021
Securing continuous funding to invest in broadband infrastructure in poorly served communities will create jobs and provide economic opportunities.
California can narrow the digital divide by investing in 21st century infrastructure, updated internet speed standards and, above all, equitable broadband deployment. The global pandemic has underscored the importance and urgency of this civil rights issue. California should commit to ensuring all communities have the technology needed to participate fully in our society, our economy and our democracy.
My legislation, Senate Bill 4, the Broadband for All act, would help California do just that.
SB 4 would secure continuous funding for broadband service grants in underserved communities by extending the time the state can collect surcharge fees from internet service providers for a state grant fund. The bill promotes deployment of 100 megabits per second broadband infrastructure, which would allow residents to stream videos, play online games and attend video chat meetings with few or no slowdowns. It would make it easier for local governments and nonprofits to apply for grants, and reform the California Public Utilities Commission’s grant program to ensure projects focus on meeting the needs of unserved and underserved areas.