Contact: Lukas Pietrzak
February 1, 2021
NEXT CENTURY CITIES ELEVATES LOCAL PERSPECTIVES IN CPUC’S PROCEEDING ON INSTALLING RESILIENT AND RELIABLE BROADBAND INFRASTRUCTURE ACROSS CALIFORNIA
Washington, D.C. (February 1, 2021) – Today, Next Century Cities (“NCC”) submitted comments in response to the California Public Utilities Commission’s (“CPUC”) request for input on a pilot proposal to include fiber in facilities restoration following natural disasters and a query into how the roughly one million dollars in its Digital Divide Account should be used. NCC’s response highlights the importance of including local insights and expertise in state broadband planning and spending decisions while reiterating concerns that local officials have raised in response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s August 2020 Broadband For All Executive Order.
Francella Ochillo, Next Century Cities’ Executive Director, emphasized the importance of CPUC’s efforts:
“The State of California, one of the largest and most populous in the nation, is home to diverse communities with persistent digital divides. It includes Internet deserts that lack the digital infrastructure to support widespread broadband access. In other areas, affordability, digital literacy, and anemic access to computing devices are insurmountable hurdles that keep residents offline. While the challenges vary, municipalities benefit from state leadership on operationalizing the goal of bringing high-speed connectivity within reach for every California resident.”
Corian Zacher, Policy Counsel for State and Local Initiatives, highlighted the benefits of intrastate government cooperation:
“California is recognized nationwide for its creativity and technological innovations. Yet far too many residents still struggle with affording or using basic Internet services. Efficient infrastructure deployment is crucial to making scarce funding dollars stretch as far as they can while providing the high quality digital services that residents need to survive and thrive. By collaborating with local officials and learning from their nimble and inventive strategies, the CPUC can help actualize the need for statewide connectivity.”
Review Next Century Cities’ filing here.