Santa Cruz County has announced a $500,000 grant from the California Public Utilities Commission's Local Area Technical Assistance grant program. This grant supports the development of a comprehensive and county-wide broadband plan that would increase high-speed internet for all residents and businesses in the county. The plan also allows the County to access both State and Federal broadband funding that could be used to build local infrastructure, connecting communities and promoting economic development and safety.
In order to better assist each community within the County, they need your feedback. A phone survey will be conducted beginning on April 10th. So, if you see "Santa Cruz County" on your caller ID, please pick up!
The BCBA has initiated conversations with local cellular service providers, County Supervisor Bruce McPherson, State officials, Congressman Panetta and others in order to make them aware that the San Lorenzo Valley, Boulder Creek in particular, is vastly underserved by the existing broadband and cellular providers. On good days service is questionable to non-existent in many areas, even in parts of the downtown core. When there is a natural disaster the chances of getting service drops significantly, going from bad to worse. In recent storm recovery meetings attended by most of the aforementioned officials, members of the community have relayed their own struggles with regards to lack of connectivity. Some of them have not even been able to receive evacuation warnings.
All are in agreement that it's time to get everyone access. The BCBA will continue to work with all of the agencies to make sure that our community has what it needs to communicate. It's necessary for safety, for those who work from home, for students who study from home, and to simply be in contact with loved ones. It's also necessary for downtown shops to conduct business, allowing the community to have a strong economically viable commercial district. You can help by taking a few moments to give your feedback if you get the call from Santa Cruz County. For more information about the $500,000 grant and the County's Broadband Master Plan, please click here. You can also call us at the BCBA to find out more about the plan and how it would benefit the community.