Governor Gavin Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego), and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) on Monday, July 12 announced an agreement on a broadband trailer bill, AB/SB 156, to expand the state’s broadband fiber infrastructure and increase internet connectivity for families and businesses.
“This broadband package is historic. It transcends politics, and it will be a legacy project that will benefit generations of rural and urban residents alike. This legislation will yield vital, broadened access for California families by prioritizing the unserved and underserved areas, facilities, households, and businesses that remain disconnected in the digital era.
“Our work on this critical issue is not done. We are fully committed to passing comprehensive measures by the end of this year’s legislative session to ensure the surcharge funding via the California Advanced Services Fund is extended. These surcharge funds are embedded in pending legislation and are critical to the long-term success of local connectivity projects and to ensure every Californian has access to high-quality broadband internet like they rightfully deserve.”
The legislation includes:
• More vital accountability and legislative oversight.
• Creating a ‘broadband czar’ and nine-member council within the California Department of Technology.
• Hiring a third-party to build and maintain the ‘middle-mile network’ – high-capacity fiber lines that carry large amounts of data at higher speeds over longer distances between local networks.
• Investing $3.25 billion to target that middle mile and build the broadband lines.
• Providing $2 billion for ‘last-mile’ infrastructure lines that will connect consumers’ homes and businesses with local networks ($1 billion for rural communities; $1 billion for urban communities).
Details on the bill can be found in AB/SB 156.