What Santa Cruz County is working on: Santa Cruz County has recently begun an effort to create an ecosystem for a thriving broadband infrastructure. At the core of this effort is a proposal to build out the physical infrastructure to support high-quality Internet access. In April of 2014, the California Public Utilities Commission approved funding for a 91 mile broadband fiber ‘backbone’ through Santa Cruz County. Upon completion, the backbone will help provide broadband access to nearly 12,000 unserved or underserved households in the county. As the backbone is being constructed, Santa Cruz County will work with private providers to identify regions most in need of gigabit Internet.
In addition, the County Board of Supervisors have reformed regulations governing the development and delivery of broadband Internet. County officials have approved policies to more easily allow for the installation and improvement of broadband infrastructure on County property, and integrate broadband infrastructure into other construction projects. The County’s fiber broadband initiative has been hailed by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development as a model for California.