Help Bridge California’s Digital Divide with Broadband Access for All
Many of us increasingly rely on the internet to work remotely and keep our kids in school during distance learning. Tech workers are some of those best equipt to make this transition to a distanced, digital life—but we recognize that for too many others the digital divide has entrenched existing disparities.
Now more than ever, access to communications infrastructure is crucial for Californians to participate in society and the 21st-century economy. A lack of adequate broadband access affects those who live outside major cities and those with limited income, further contributing to large disparities within the tech sector and the economy. Current legislation does not keep up with advancements in technology and it is time for our legislators to prepare for the next era of innovation. The passage of SB 4, AB 34, and AB 14 (Broadband for All package of bills), can help parts of the state who are currently underserved obtain access to broadband internet so they may pursue remote education or work from home.
That’s why we’re endorsing Broadband for All (SB 4 & AB 14) that will expand internet access for all Californians. Alongside our coalition partners Common Sense Kids Action and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), we’re advocating for greater network connectivity across the State.
- AB 14 would authorize the ongoing collection of an existing surcharge on revenues collected by telecommunications providers from customers. The surcharge funds the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF), which provides rural and urban communities with grants administered by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). This critical source of funding for addressing the digital crisis is currently set to expire at the end of 2022. AB-14 also addresses other reforms to CASF, ensuring that CASF-funded projects deploy infrastructure capable of providing higher broadband speeds than currently required, with a goal of achieving broadband access speeds of 100 megabits.
- SB 4 would implement changes in the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) program. Similar to AB 14, SB-4 also would authorize the ongoing collection of the CASF surcharge, capping it at 23 cents per month per access line. Just like AB 14, SB 4 also contains provisions for ensuring that CASF-funded projects deploy infrastructure capable of providing higher broadband speeds than currently required, with a goal of achieving broadband access speeds of 100 megabits.