Governor Signs Sen. Dodd’s Broadband Expansion Blueprint Bill
SACRAMENTO – Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, announced today that Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed his legislation to create a blueprint for accelerating broadband deployment, including expanded wireless access, in an effort to improve connectivity for all Californians, especially low-income people and the underserved.
“With the signing of this legislation, we take a big step toward ensuring all Californians have adequate connectivity so they may compete in business and conduct their daily lives,” Sen. Dodd said. “Now we can begin bringing stakeholders together to identify what’s prevented access so far and plot a course for improvements. Ultimately, this measure will help ensure a greater number of people have this essential service.”
More than ever, Californians depend on broadband for distance learning, telehealth, public safety, remote work and accessing vital government services. However, many communities across the state continue to lack access, leaving people at an inherent disadvantage and deepening disparities in education, health care and digital skills.
The widespread development of reliable, high-speed broadband is a critical part of the solution – both wireline and wireless options. Buildout of the necessary infrastructure could be accelerated by identifying and removing barriers to expanded deployment.
Senate Bill 717, also known as the Broadband Access Point Investment Acceleration Study Act of 2022, would help address the state’s broadband infrastructure needs. It requires the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, with input from relevant stakeholders and state agencies, to deliver a report to the Legislature by Jan. 1, 2024 on hurdles to broadband development on public and private land, with a focus on low-income and tribal communities. The report would identify bottlenecks, regulatory and otherwise, and put forward meaningful recommendations for solutions on future infrastructure investment.
SB 717 was approved with overwhelming support of the Legislature before it was signed late Thursday by Gov. Newsom.
“We applaud Gov. Newsom and the Legislature for advancing an all-of-the-above approach to tackling the digital divide and ensuring all Californians can benefit from the digital economy,” said Kiki Lizárraga, vice president of The East Los Angeles Community Union known as TELACU. “Sen. Dodd’s SB 717 will strengthen these efforts by pinpointing the barriers to broadband access and driving informed solutions to connect underserved communities to the virtual services and activities that have become essential to daily life.”
Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Solano, Yolo, Sonoma, Contra Costa, and Sacramento counties. You can learn more about the district and Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd.