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Blazing-fast Internet options are coming to south Yuba County households and businesses, as a result of recent action by the Board of Supervisors authorizing a private company to fund, design, and construct a fiber optic broadband network throughout the communities of Linda, Olivehurst, and Plumas Lake, with plans to expand into Arboga.

SiFi Networks (not related to the similarly-named cable network) will begin the process that will soon lay down fiber optic cables capable of transmitting up to a whopping 10 gigabit broadband speed to homes and 100 gigabit to businesses, providing huge opportunities in economic development, education, telehealth, and more.

                “This is just the latest phase in our countywide effort to bring more reliable connectivity to our community, and it sets the table to reach even further into areas of the county that struggle to get reliable access to Internet data,” said Yuba County Broadband Project Manager Ian Scott.

                The fiber optic system constructed by SiFi will be “open access,” enabling access to multiple service providers to use the network, ultimately creating a more competitive field that offers residents and businesses more choices in price and reliability.

                The development agreement approved by the Board grants right-of-way access, allowing SiFi to install broadband fiber optic cables underneath roadways and along curbs. SiFi will work closely with Yuba County Public Works to coordinate construction with already-planned road projects and minimize impacts to the public.

                “We fully understand there are residents living in other areas of Yuba County with very limited Internet access, such as our foothill communities, who are wondering when they are going to see similar broadband access,” Scott said. “Be assured those areas continue to be a priority, and everything we do to leverage building broadband networks in the more populated areas will bring opportunities closer to sparsely populated regions.”

Scott said Yuba County is working to bolster its case to get access to state and federal funding to further expand Internet access. Residents can help the effort by taking part in a home Internet speed test survey — the first step in the process that will identify Internet speed “gaps” in the county. The speed test can be found online at CalSpeed.org.

                SiFi also entered into agreements with Yuba City, Marysville, and two dozen other cities across the country, however Yuba County will be the first county jurisdiction to enter into an agreement with SiFi Networks. Since this is a privately-funded venture, there is no cost to taxpayers.

                “SiFi Networks is excited to extend its FiberCity® open access network into Yuba County, enabling residents and businesses to access gigabit speed broadband via our Internet service providers on the network,” said SiFi Networks President Scott Bradshaw. “It can support existing and future digital demands, as well as being able to support smart city applications. The network also helps to close the digital divide and boost the local economy.”

                Designing the process of laying the fiber optic cables in Yuba County is intricate, with construction not anticipated to proceed until 2023.