Broadband and Digital Literacy Office


Mission

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.

Vision

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

The FCC is Stopping Nine Companies from Providing Federally Subsidized Internet to Low-Income Persons

February, 2017

Regulators are informing nine companies they won’t be able to participate in a federal program meant to help them provide affordable internet access to low-income consumers, weeks after those companies had been granted approval.

FCC Announces Establishment of the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee- Nominations due February 15, 2017

January, 2017

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced the formation of a new federal advisory committee to explore ways to accelerate deployment of high-speed Internet access (or “broadband”) nationwide and to close the digital divide. Nominations will be accepted until February 15, 2017.

Grant Helps Mutual Housing Close Digital Divide in Spring Lake

January, 2017

Thanks to a $305,632 grant from the California Public Utilities Commission, Mutual Housing California will be providing wireless internet access and one year of computer training to residents at Mutual Housing at Spring Lake and five of their Davis and Sacramento communities.

Rural American Broadband Connectivity Proposal for the New Administration

January, 2017

On January 7, 2017, the Schools, Health and Libraries Coalition (SHLC) released its Rural American Broadband Connectivity (Rural ABC) Proposal to the new federal administration. The proposal recommended focusing on anchor institutions and the creation of community-based needs assessments, with a request for federal support to both commercial and non-commercial providers based on assessment outcomes.

40 Desktop PCs Delivered to Sutter Middle School in Sacramento

40 desktop pcs delivered to Sutter Middle School

November, 2016
Today, the Broadband Council's Surplus Computers Working Group attended a milestone event at Sutter Middle School in Sacramento with the delivery of 40 desktop PCs. The computers were provided free of charge by the California Prison Industries Authority, which has a youth program that provides training on computer repair and refurbishing. This is the second school to receive refurbished computers through the Council's working group.

FirstNet announces Innovation and Test Lab

November, 2016
America’s first nationwide public safety communications network took one step closer to reality Wednesday when the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) announced a new facility where future private industry partners will test technology and train personnel how to use it. The new facility, called the FirstNet Innovation and Test Lab and located at the agency’s technical headquarters in Boulder, Colo., will allow agency partners to test safety features, devices and apps before they are deployed to a live network. “The opening of our lab is a great accomplishment for FirstNet in our efforts to deploy public safety’s network and we’re proud to open it ahead of schedule and under budget,” FirstNet CEO Mike Poth said in a press release. “This will enable FirstNet to get advanced technology into the hands of our first responders and help them save lives and secure communities.”

Obama unveils ConnectHome to get low-income households online ...

November, 2016
The Obama administration announced in July 2015, a broad initiative that aims to provide high-speed Internet service to low-income households.

ConnectHome, the pilot initiative will bring high-speed broadband access to over 275,000 low-income households across the US. According to the White House, the pilot program will launch in 27 cities including New York, Boston and Seattle, as well as the Choctaw Tribal Nation in Oklahoma. The effort will initially connect nearly 200,000 children to the Web, according to the White House. Internet Service Providers, non-profits and the private sector will offer broadband access, technical training, digital literacy programs, and devices for residents in assisted housing units.

ConnectHome is the next step in the President’s continued efforts to expand high speed broadband to all Americans and builds on his ConnectED initiative that is on track to connect 99 percent of K-12 students to high-speed Internet in their classrooms and libraries over the next five years. ConnectHome will help ensure that these students still have access to high-speed Internet once they are home.

How Bad is the Digital Divide in California?

September, 2016
In California, the state that practically invented the internet, 30% of Californians, or nearly 12 million people, do not have meaningful broadband at home, according to an August survey by The Field Research Corporation. This article by former California Legislator Lloyd Levine explores historical data on the Digital Divide as well as new data from the recent Field Poll in order to understand the problem and provide appropriate policy solutions.

US Secretary of Commerce Announces Reappointment of Teri Takai to the First Responder Network Authority Board

August, 2016
Teri Takai, who previously served as the State of California’s Chief Information Officer, has been reappointed to the national First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Board. FirstNet is reviewing Requests for Proposals and is expected to decide on a vendor. The Office of the US Secretary of Commerce stated that Ms. Takai’s reappointment will provide steady and continued leadership during a critical point.

California Emerging Technology Fund Issues Summary of the Annual Survey “Internet Connectivity and the ‘Digital Divide’ in California Households: 2016”

August, 2016
The statewide annual survey conducted for the California Emerging Technology Fund tracks the progress of broadband deployment and adoption in California. Major findings include that while 84% of respondents had a high speed internet connection at home, 14% had only a smartphone, and that the most disadvantaged residents remained offline and under-connected.

Mapping Broadband Health in America

August, 2016
On August 2, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission Connect2Health Task Force held a launch event for Mapping Broadband Health in America. This tool allows users to visualize, overlay and analyze broadband and health data at the national, state and county levels.

BroadbandUSA Webinar Series to be Hosted by The National Telecommunications and Information Administration

August, 2016
From August, 2016 to January, 2017, a series of webinars will be hosted as part of the BroadbandUSA program. These webinars are intended to engage the public in order to accelerate broadband access, improve digital inclusion, strengthen policies, and support local priorities.

Field Poll’s “Internet Connectivity and the Digital Divide in California’s Households: 2016”

July, 2016
The Field Poll commissioned an annual survey on broadband adoption with this survey conducted for the California Emerging Technology Fund. The survey found that 13% of respondents had no internet connection at home and that 14% only had internet access via their smartphones.

President Obama Announces ConnectALL Initiative

March, 2016
In order to ensure low-income Americans can seize the opportunities of the digital age, President Obama is unveiling ConnectALL, an initiative to help Americans across the country, and at every income level, get online and have the tools to take full advantage of the internet. The Administration is submitting a recommendation that the Federal Communications Commission reform an old $1.5 billion per year phone subsidy program into a 21st Century national broadband subsidy to help low-income Americans get online.


Broadband Legislation

Assembly Bill 1549

November, 2016
This bill would require the Department of Transportation in consultation with stakeholders, on or before January 1, 2018, to develop guidelines to facilitate the installation of broadband conduit on state highway rights-of-way.

These guidelines will involve construction methods that are suitable for installing broadband conduit and will be available via the Department of Transportation Web site to encourage collaborative broadband installations.

Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 203

November, 2016
This measure would recognize the week of October 16, 2016, to October 22, 2016, inclusive, as Digital Citizenship Week to raise awareness about the importance of digital citizenship in the 21st century.