Gov. Newsom Visits Traver Elementary in Tulare County, Signs Law Expanding Broadband Internet Service

Photo: FOX26

 

TULARE COUNTY, CA (KMJ) — Governor Gavin Newsom visited the campus of an elementary school in Tulare County on Tuesday to highlight the state’s plan to achieve equitable statewide access to high-speed broadband internet service.

Newsom spoke at Traver Elementary school, where he also signed a law to end the digital divide, and provide internet for all.

 

Photo: Office of Gov.

 

Newsom was assisted by an 8-year-old girl named Brooklynn, who spelled out the letters G-A-V. She along with other children wrote the governor’s name, then he actually signed the document.

The law expands the state’s broadband fiber infrastructure which will increase internet connectivity for families and businesses.

Governor Newsom says the need for rural areas to have high-speed internet was underscored by the pandemic’s impact on how we connect with health care, education, employment, and more.

 

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Through a $6 billion multi-year investment, more Californians will be able to access broadband coverage with the construction of a state-owned open access middle mile network and last mile projects that connect unserved households and businesses with local networks.

“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,” said Governor Newsom. “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. I thank the Legislature for its partnership on this critically important step to ensuring that California’s economic recovery will leave no part of our state behind.”

 

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Governor Newsom signed SB 156 at Traver Joint Elementary, a school serving diverse students in a rural Tulare County community. The school has distributed hotspot devices to students for internet access as part of the state’s cross-sector efforts launched during the pandemic.

The historic legislation, announced last week in partnership with legislative leaders, advances the statewide broadband plan with expanded infrastructure prioritizing unserved and underserved areas. The legislation includes:

  • $3.25 billion to build, operate and maintain an open access, state-owned middle mile network – high-capacity fiber lines that carry large amounts of data at higher speeds over longer distances between local networks.
  • $2 billion to set up last-mile broadband connections that will connect homes and businesses with local networks. The legislation expedites project deployment and enables Tribes and local governments to access this funding.
  • $750 million for a loan loss reserve fund to bolster the ability of local governments and nonprofits to secure financing for broadband infrastructure.
  • Creation of a broadband czar position at the California Department of Technology, and a broadband advisory committee with representatives from across state government and members appointed by the Legislature.

 

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Listen to the report by KMJ’s Liz Kern.