Broadband and Digital Literacy Office


The Broadband and Digital Literacy Office supports Department of Technology goals to promote and foster statewide Broadband and Digital Literacy initiatives. We build relationships between the Department of Technology and key private, non-profit, community-based organizations, as well as public stakeholders interested in promoting broadband expansion, adoption and inclusion.


While our state is a leader in developing broadband infrastructure, thousands of Californians remain off-line. Broadband is vital to our economic future. The Broadband and Digital Literacy Offices collaborates with state agencies, non-profits, community-based organizations and private sector entities to bridge the digital divide.

In the Spotlight

FirstNet Town Hall Meeting Scheduled for July 16, 2014 in Lakeport

LAKEPORT, CA – The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Public Safety Communications Office is hosting a FirstNet Town Hall on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, at the Lakeport Superior Courthouse, Board of Supervisors Chambers, 255 Forbes St., Lakeport, California from 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM.

In February 2012, Congress enacted The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act (the Act), containing provisions to advance public safety capabilities in the United States. The Act directs the establishment of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) and the creation of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). FirstNet’s vision is to provide emergency responders with the first nationwide, high-speed, wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety.

As California’s point of contact for FirstNet and in collaboration with Mark Ghilarducci, Director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, CalOES is committed to working with state and local emergency first responders to ensure that the NPSBN meets the needs of first responders and public safety workers across California.

At the Town Hall participants will be able to hear directly from a FirstNet representative regarding FirstNet’s national service vision, service offers and applications; learn about California’s developments and current initiatives; hear how FirstNet will impact public safety communications and other local perspectives.

Space is limited; please register by email or by phone 916-657-9172 if you plan to attend

Future town hall meetings are planned for:

  • Santa Ana, California
  • Bakersfield, California
  • Vacaville, California

We hope that you can attend the Lakeport town hall. The meeting is open to the public, so please feel free to forward this information to other public safety constituents. If you have any questions regarding the town hall event, please contact our team by email or by phone 916-657-9172.

California First Responder Network (CalFRN)

California's First Responder Network (CalFRN) will create a statewide public safety network that will be part of the larger scale Nationwide, Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN). In February 2012, Congress enacted The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. It directs the establishment of a NPSBN for use by first responders and other public safety workers. In 2012, Governor Brown, Jr. appointed Karen Wong, Assistant Director of Public Safety Communications, as the point of contact in coordination with Director Mark Ghilarducci of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services to consult with the FirstNet Board.

USDA Accepting Applications for Advanced Communications Technology in Rural Areas

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on May 22, 2014, the USDA is accepting applications for grants to enhance telecommunications and broadcast services in rural areas. The USDA plans to provide up to $13 million from the Community Connect Grant Program to fund broadband in unserved areas to support economic growth and deliver enhanced educational, health care and public safety services. Awardees must serve an area where broadband does not exist, provide a community center with broadband access, and offer broadband service to all residential and business customers. The USDA also announced it is making available up to $19.3 million in Distance Learning and Telemedicine program grants to fund access to rural education, training and health care resources, and will provide up to $2 million as part of the USDA's continued support of rural telecommunications and broadcast services. Applications are due July 7.

USDA funding helps rural communications

May 27, 2014
Access to advanced telecommunications technology, including broadband, is one the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s important investments in rural communities. “Today, high speed broadband access provides rural areas with the ability to expand educational programs, increase access to health care and boost rural businesses and social services,” said Under Secretary for Rural Development Doug O’Brien.