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February 24, 2022 – The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), in its ongoing commitment to bridging the digital divide, today established a new local agency technical assistance grant program in the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) for eligible local agencies and Tribal entities to expand broadband deployment.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated affordability challenges and heightened the need for universal broadband access. Today’s decision establishes the Local Agency Technical Assistance grant program to leverage a total of $50 million for eligible local governments and Tribal governments to facilitate deployment of last-mile broadband infrastructure projects. These grants will support Tribes and local agencies in their efforts to expand broadband to families and communities where sufficient service and Internet access are lacking. The effort builds on the existing Tribal Technical Assistance program, which remains an alternative program through which Tribes may apply for grants to increase broadband access in tribal communities in the state.

“Local agencies and Tribes are key partners in our efforts to bridge the digital divide,” said Commissioner Darcie L. Houck.  “Implementing this aspect of Governor Newsom’s historic broadband package brings support to these entities that best understand the needs of their communities. This program lays the groundwork for communities to develop locally owned broadband networks, creating opportunities for growth.  We look forward to working with local agencies and Tribes to bring their ideas to life.”

Information about the related programs for federal funding of last-mile infrastructure and the loan loss reserve accounts can be found at Broadband Implementation for California.

The proposal voted on is available at https://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M453/K954/453954160.PDF.

Documents related to the proceeding are available at https://apps.cpuc.ca.gov/apex/f?p=401:56:0::NO:RP,57,RIR:P5_PROCEEDING_SELECT:R2008021.

More information on the CASF is available at www.cpuc.ca.gov/casf.

More information on the CPUC’s efforts in broadband implementation for California is available at www.cpuc.ca.gov/industries-and-topics/internet-and-phone/broadband-implementation-for-california.

The CPUC regulates services and utilities, protects consumers, safeguards the environment, and assures Californians’ access to safe and reliable utility infrastructure and services. For more information on the CPUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.