Today, it is imperative to have high-speed Internet for employment applications, educational purposes, health services, and other civic activities. Yet, according to the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF), 1 million Californians can’t participate in our digital economy because they have no high-speed Internet access.
The Legislature established the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) in 2008, and authorized $315 million to be collected in the past 7 years, from a small fee on phone bills, to support deployment of broadband into unserved and underserved areas to help close the Digital Divide. CASF has funded 56 projects and reached 304,835 households. Nevertheless, CASF is out of money for infrastructure deployment with 18 pending projects.
What This Act Will Do
The Internet for All Now Act of 2016 authorizes additional collection of funds into CASF. The Act:
- Authorizes $50M per year for 7 years for total additional funding of $350M into CASF.
- Maintains funding priorities for last-mile, unserved households to achieve the Legislature’s goal of 98% deployment and promise to Rural California.
- Recognizes the need for cost-effective, middle-mile with “first right of opportunity” for incumbent broadband providers to help meet the goal.
- Transitions CASF support to higher speeds (25/3 Mbps) after the 98% goal is met in order to remain competitive and align CASF with FCC new speed goals.
- Ensures that $100 million is used to help those on the wrong side of the Digital Divide learn how to improve the quality of their lives through training and adoption.
- Allocates $10 million to the California Telehealth Network to leverage more than $21 million from the FCC Healthcare Connect Fund to get Californian’s fair share.
- Ensures that the most disadvantaged residents living in publicly-subsidized housing will be online and able to participate in the Digital Economy to get out of poverty.
- Provides proven project management tools for the CPUC to enhance efficiency and effectiveness: project management; value engineering; grants management.
For endorsements of and more information about the Internet for All Now Act, click here.