In March residents and businesses were invited to participate in a new survey to assess high-speed internet (or “broadband”) availability and reliability across the County. The results of the survey will help the County prioritize new broadband projects, apply for funding, and advocate to elected officials and state regulators.
“We set a goal of at least 3,000 survey responses and ended up getting over 4,200. This is the kind of information that internet service providers will need to build new networks and will help the County secure funding to support those projects,” says Steve Monaghan, the County’s broadband lead and Chief Information Officer.
“We knew there is a need out there and are grateful to everyone who took the time to share their insight. With this survey data we can prioritize the areas in greatest need,” says Board Chair Sue Hoek.
In 2021, the federal government passed legislation that allocated $65 billion dollars for broadband expansion. In July 2021, the California legislature passed SB 156, legislation that makes a historic $6 billion multi-year investment to significantly expand internet access throughout the state. Up to $75 million of that funding has been set aside for internet service providers (ISPs) serving Nevada County. They can apply for those funds through a competitive grant process administered by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). County officials are preparing to support ISPs during that application process to position them for success.
What the County is Doing to Expand Internet Access:
- Fund additional rounds of the County’s last-mile grant program
- Develop a line extension grant program
- Develop a programmatic environmental impact report (EIR), which will help expedite future broadband projects in the county
- Continue communication with internet service providers (ISPs) to track potential opportunities for partnership
- Ensure the County is in the best position to access new state and federal broadband funding
- Update broadband strategic plan
Survey results and more information on the County’s broadband expansion efforts can be found at www.nevadacountyca.gov/broadband or https://www.nevadacountyca.gov/3521/Need-for-Speed-Survey.