Newsom signs $6 billion broadband bill: Here’s what it will fund

By Sydney Johnson

EdSource

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed California’s historic $6 billion broadband bill into law on Tuesday, securing a future for one of the country’s largest investments into internet infrastructure.

“As we work to build California back stronger than before, the state is committed to addressing the challenges laid bare by the pandemic, including the digital divide holding back too many communities in a state renowned for its pioneering technology and innovation economy,” Newsom said on Tuesday from Traver Joint Elementary in Tulare County, where many rural districts struggled to connect students to the internet during distance learning.

Like many schools serving low-income students this past year, Traver Joint Elementary distributed Wi-Fi hotspots so students could access distance learning programs during the pandemic. But even hotspots could be a weak solution in areas that don’t receive strong cell service or in households where multiple people are using the service.

The broadband package includes the following:

• $3.25 billion to build, operate and maintain an open access, state-owned middle mile network;

• $2 billion to set up last-mile broadband connections that will connect homes and businesses with local networks;

• $750 million for a loan loss reserve fund so local governments and nonprofits can secure financing for broadband;

• Creation of a broadband czar position at the California Department of Technology.

“This $6 billion investment will make broadband more accessible than ever before, expanding opportunity across the spectrum for students, families and businesses — from enhanced educational supports to job opportunities to health care and other essential services,” Newsom said.

EdSource is a nonprofit newsroom that reports on state and local education issues.

Wire Service

Leave a Comment
Share
Published by
Wire Service

Recent Posts

Experts, UC scientists discuss wildfires in the state’s riskiest regions

Wildfires are nothing new in California’s history, but the magnitude and frequencies of recent fires…

1 day ago

Mayor: Two-year budget focuses on economic recovery

San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Thursday signed The City’s two-year budget, cementing money aimed…

1 day ago

SPCA offering free adoptions for older animals, heavier dogs

The San Francisco SPCA is offering free adoptions through Aug. 15 for all cats and…

1 day ago

Former Recology exec agrees to plead guilty, cooperate in City Hall corruption probe

A former executive with Recology — the company contracted by San Francisco to handle waste…

1 day ago

Grow SF: New tech group aims to promote moderate ideals to political newcomers

Sachin Agarwal has lived in San Francisco for 15 years. But the former tech worker…

2 days ago