(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Today, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) and his State Assembly colleagues joined together in unanimous, bipartisan support to pass a $6 billion broadband budget bill. This historic investment package reflects the agreement between the Legislature and the Governor’s Administration to expand California’s broadband fiber infrastructure and increase internet connectivity for families and businesses.
“We have been calling for California to go big, with big investments in broadband expansion, and this historic $6 billion budget bill will go a long way in getting us back on track in this digital age and ensuring equitable internet access for underserved areas like those in our district. Careful deliberation and attention went into balancing this deal to represent the needs of diverse areas of our state. Significantly, we made sure that this bill included resources for our rural hard to service areas and tribal communities,” said Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia.
“We have been working on expanding broadband infrastructure in our rural, underserved community for years, and when this pandemic hit, it served as a big wake-up call across California putting our digital divide in stark focus. This game-changing broadband investment will open up access to educational and economic opportunities while allowing for greater health and safety, but we cannot stop here. We have to deliver these critical resources home to our district and build on this solid funding foundation to continue addressing deep-set internet infrastructure disparities beyond this three-year investment.”
SB 156 Highlights:
- $3.25 billion to target middle mile broadband infrastructure lines.
- $2 billion for last mile infrastructure lines.
- $750 million to assist local governments and nonprofits to deploy broadband local infrastructure projects.
Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, who serves on the California Department of Education’s Closing the Digital Divide Task Force, has been a steadfast champion of legislative efforts to bridge the digital divide. In 2017, he passed AB 1665, the Internet for All Now Act, which made improvements and extended $300 million into the California Advanced Services Fund for broadband infrastructure projects.