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FirstNet Board Approves Release of RFP

December 2015
HOUSTON, TX – The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Board approved the Request for Proposal (RFP) to deploy the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN) and directed management to take all necessary actions to release the RFP in early January. The Board’s approval advances FirstNet's Strategic Program Roadmap and moves FirstNet a step closer to establishing a public-private partnership to build, operate, and maintain the NPSBN.

One Fifth of Americans Reportedly Online “Almost Constantly”

December 2015
As smartphones and other mobile devices have become more widespread, some 21% of Americans now report that they go online “almost constantly,” according to a Pew Research Center survey. Overall, 73% of Americans go online on a daily basis. Along with the 21% who go online almost constantly, 42% go online several times a day and 10% go online about once a day. Some 13% go online several times a week or less often. And in this survey, 13% of adults say they do not use the internet at all.

Try an Hour of Code: Computer Science Education Week December 7-12

November 2015
Hour of Code 2015 offers tutorials and events on coding and computer science. During Computer Science Education Week on December 7-13, participants and partners are sought to code for one hour. The worldwide event encourages everyone to learn the basics of coding using games featuring Star Wars, Minecraft and Disney’s Frozen, among others.

CDT Deputy Director Zendejas Speaks at California Broadband Conference

November 2015
Even at the epicenter of the high-tech revolution, there are digital haves and have-nots. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) hosted a broadband workshop last week at the Computer History Museum in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley. And the take-away was this: the state that gave us semiconductor chips, Internet search engines and smartphones faces the same digital divide challenges as the rest of the nation.

Inaugural AnchorNETS Event in Silicon Valley Explores Collaboration

November 2015
Community broadband institutions are a key building block to accelerate deployment of high-capacity internet service, said speakers and panelists at the inaugural AnchorNETS conference in late November.

L.A. County Backs Plan to Ensure Internet Access

November 2015
Recognizing how essential the Internet is for people looking for jobs and social services, the Board of Supervisors voted this week to push for affordable high-speed Internet access for Los Angeles County seniors, low-income residents and people with disabilities.

Google Unit Focused on Broadband Expansion

November 2015
Around the launch of Google Fiber four years ago, long before Alphabet, Google’s leaders considered spinning out the high-speed Internet offering as its own business under then-CFO Patrick Pichette. The plan was scrapped, according to several former employees. But it reveals the concern Google placed on its audacious attempt to build its own, capital-intensive broadband service.

Experts Discuss Statewide Broadband Development in California

November 2015
California Department of Technology Office of Broadband and Digital Literacy Deputy Director Adelina Zendejas joined broadband experts from California and across the U.S. converged in Mountain View on Tuesday for a wide-ranging discussion about how to continue building out connectivity in the state's urban and rural areas. The daylong California Broadband Workshop was hosted by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Aim to Bolster School Broadband

November 2015
With a goal of fiber-optic lines reaching to every school and a Wi-Fi connection in every classroom, Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, is expected to propose a 62 percent increase in the amount of money the agency spends annually to wire schools and libraries with high-speed Internet connections.

Congress Seeks to Bolster Nation’s Broadband

November 2015
A draft bill making the rounds among Senate lawmakers would require selling even more airwaves than initially agreed to in the recent budget deal.

Inyo County RFP for 21st Century Network

November 2015
Inyo County has released a request for proposals seeking partners for a county-owned gigabit network to serve properties in the Owens Valley and select neighboring areas.

Nonprofit Gives $10,000 Grant to Burbank High School Robotics Program

November 2015
A first-of-its-kind robotics program at Burbank High School is getting an infusion of much-needed technology thanks to a $10,000 grant from Closing the Gap, a nonprofit that funds programs addressing the academic achievement gap for local students at “Title 1” schools.

Bipartisan ‘Dig-Once’ Legislation Provides Hope for Broadband Expansion

November 2015
At least one issue on Capitol Hill brings together Republicans, Democrats, the tech industry and the White House: legislation to expand high-speed Internet access nationwide, especially for rural, tribal and other remote areas. The push comes after a new report that noted an estimated 25 percent of households do not have access to broadband either because of prohibitive costs or limited availability.

White House Initiative for Excellence in Education for Latinos

November 2015
In honor of its 25th Anniversary, the Initiative produced A National Education Blueprint to celebrate two and a half decades of progress and to also recognize the imperative need to continue the momentum and work needed to fill the gaps that still exist between Hispanics and their non-Hispanic counterparts.

Google Fiber Service Announced for San Jose

October 2015
Google is moving forward with plans to expand Google Fiber into the heart of Silicon Valley, potentially making San Jose the first city in California and fourth in the nation to carry the Mountain View technology giant's lightning-fast fiber Internet and TV service.

California Congresswoman Introduces Federal Dig Once Broadband Deployment Bill

October 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), Ranking Member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, and Congressman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), Chairman of the Subcommittee, have introduced the Broadband Conduit Deployment Act of 2015, commonly referred to as ‘dig once’ legislation. The federal legislation would mandate the inclusion of broadband conduit during the construction of any road receiving federal funding if there is a demonstrated need for broadband in the area within the next 15 years.

FirstNet Releases Public Notices, Including Defining “Rural”

October 2015
FirstNet released two public notices that include more than 60 key legal interpretations and definitions.  One definition finalized by FirstNet last week is the term “rural.”  The definition adopted by the agency mirrors the definition under the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, which defines the term “rural” as any area that is not a city, town, or incorporated area with a population of greater than 20,000 inhabitants, or any urbanized area contiguous and adjacent to a city or town with a population of more than 50,000 inhabitants. 

Obama Administration Releases Broadband Opportunity Report

September 2015
The Federal Broadband Opportunity Council has released a report on nationwide broadband deployment and efforts to improve connectivity and expansion.

USDA and NASA Expand Innovative Partnership

July 2015
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden and NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman today announced an expanded partnership between the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) designed to better protect America's working lands, predict and prevent natural disasters, and inspire young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and agriculture.

Wide Differences in Broadband Access in California Households

June 2015
According to a new statewide Field Poll examining the "digital divide" in California, 79% of California households have a broadband connection at home, while 21% do not. Overall, including the much slower dial-up connections, 87% of households reported they have the ability to connect to the Internet from home. The survey was conducted on behalf of the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF), a non-profit foundation focused on promoting broadband deployment and adoption.

Yolo County Finalizes Broadband Strategic Plan

March 2015
Yolo County has finalized its Broadband Strategic Plan. Read how representatives plan to meet community broadband needs and identify key public and private initiatives that support the overall mission of equipping their community for the digital economy.

Comcast Internet Essentials

Comcast Internet Essentials

Comcast Internet Essentials has announced changes to its Internet Essential program. Now for $9.95 per month, eligible families can provide Internet at home. The program has also added educational resources from Khan Academy, and free on-line training to learn essential Internet skills.

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.

California Emerging Technology Fund

The California Emerging Technology Fund provides leadership statewide to close the "Digital Divide" by accelerating the deployment and adoption of broadband to unserved and underserved communities and populations.

Federal Government Revitalized Computers for Schools and Non-Profits

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In order to advocate and promote the reuse of computers, the Federal General Services Administration has created a website for eligible schools and educational non-profits interested in receiving surplus computers.
For information on eligibility to participate in the CFL program: http://computersforlearning.gov/htm/hp_schooleducation.htm
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KHAN Academy Partners to Offer free SAT Testing Prep

The College Board, creators of the SAT, recently announced a redesigned SAT coming in 2016 and a historic partnership with Khan Academy to make comprehensive, best-in-class SAT prep materials open and free.

California Issues Proposed Decision in Frontier’s Acquisition of Verizon Assets

November 2015
Frontier Communications announced that on Friday, November 6, 2015 Administrative Law Judge Karl J. Bemesderfer with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued a favorable Proposed Decision (PD) proposing approval of Frontier’s proposed acquisition of Verizon's local wireline, broadband and video operations, including the FiOS network. Pending final CPUC approval in California, Frontier expects to close the transaction at the end of the first quarter of 2016.

Huffman Hosts Mendocino County Broadband Meeting on Outages

November 2015
Congressman Jared Huffman hosted a meeting in Willits to discuss the state of broadband in Mendocino County, after the Sept. 3 outage left much of the North Coast without 911, cellphones or internet. Four outages have occurred in the last 19 months: the September outage, caused by a fiber optic cable cut by vandals; a 44-hour outage on the coast in August 2014 after a truck hit a line on the Comptche-Ukiah Road; and ones in Covelo and Laytonville. .

More Schools Have Access to High-Speed Broadband

November 2015
The number of students with access to high-speed broadband in the classroom has risen over the last two years, with the technology reaching an additional 20 million students since 2013.Only 30 percent of school districts nationwide were meeting the Federal Communications Commission's minimum Internet access goal of 100 kilobits per second per student in 2013, according to EducationSuperHighway.

Steve Job’s Widow Invests in Digital Education

November 2015
Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, is the lead investor who funded the buyout of News Corp’s money-losing digital education business Amplify earlier this year. A representative for Powell Jobs’ organization, the Emerson Collective, confirmed the investment in Amplify but would not specify how much of the company Powell Jobs would own or the amount paid for it.

Google Seeks FCC Permission for Tests

November 2015
Google has sought permission from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allow it to experiment with millimeter-wave technology for two years. Google’s public filing is redacted and is mostly related to the name of the entity it wants to run the tests, specific locations and antenna characteristics.

Narrowing the Digital Divide: Children and Mobile Devices

November 2015
Nearly all children 4 years old and below use tablet PCs and smartphones at home, including those from low-income families, according to new research published on Monday.

College Track Student Story Featured On Univision

October 2015
Univision recently aired a segment that featured College Track and Roosevelt High School senior, Cynthia Erenas. It follows Cynthia's story as she pursues her passion for STEM.

Pew Report: Ownership of Digital Devices has not Grown

October 2015
Today, 68% of U.S. adults have a smartphone, up from 35% in 2011, and tablet computer ownership has edged up to 45% among adults, according to newly released survey data from the Pew Research Center.1 Smartphone ownership is nearing the saturation point with some groups: 86% of those ages 18-29 have a smartphone, as do 83% of those ages 30-49 and 87% of those living in households earning $75,000 and up annually.

Brookings Research: Can Digital Literacy Reduce Recidivism?

October 2015
Offenders typically return to prison due to a variety of factors: most often, a lack of education, stable employment and housing, addiction, and other mental health issues. These factors often stack the odds against offenders once they have been released, making it far too easy to ultimately return to prison. Reducing recidivism rates would save taxpayers millions: a 2011 study done by the Pew Charitable Trust found that if 10 states alone reduced their recidivism rates by 10 percent, it would save more than $470 million in a single year.

FCC Fund to Expand Rural Broadband in 45 States

August 2015
ConnectAmerica funds will be used in 45 states as well as the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory. (States without participating carriers include Alaska, Delaware, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Wyoming.) The funding recurs annually, and so the total amount invested from the fund will be approximately $9 billion over the next six years.

FCC Ayes March 2016 for Airwaves Auction

July 2015
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering March 29, 2016 as the start date for an auction of wireless airwaves. The auction will be the first of its kind, with the commission buying spectrum from broadcasters and reselling it to wireless providers. Wireless spectrum has become a critical resource as Americans have adopted smartphones. An auction that closed earlier this year netted the government more than $44 billion.

National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) Broadband Case Study

April 2015
Over the past five years through our national broadband grant program, NTIA has seen first-hand the economic and societal impact that broadband has on communities across the country. With the release of its Broadband Infrastructure Case Studies, NTIA demonstrates how broadband changes the game.

Adelina Zendejas, Deputy Director, Broadband and Digital Literacy Office

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