California Department of Technology secures fiber needed to lay 3,000 miles of broadband infrastructure
675,000 underserved Californians would get high-speed internet across the state thanks to a new broadband network
SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that California is on track to provide affordable high-speed Internet service to communities across the state, awarding new contracts that will supply the materials needed to build 3,000 miles of broadband infrastructure.
The California Department of Technology, as part of the state’s Middle-Mile Broadband Initiative, has awarded contracts to two vendors totaling nearly $225 million that will allow the state to purchase enough fiber optics and materials to build 3,000 miles of the network.
“Providing broadband to everyone is critical to California’s success,” Governor Newsom said. “Access to high-speed Internet can be the difference between launching a successful career and being out of work. Once built, this network will be the largest in the world – and our action today will make the promise of broadband for all a reality.
California is boosting broadband connections to improve access to education, health services and job opportunities across the state. The Middle-Mile Broadband Initiative is the first step toward creating a mid-mile open-access network that will build infrastructure to bring high-speed broadband service to unserved and underserved communities, regardless of location. technology used, on equal economic and service terms.
Today’s action is part of a comprehensive, long-term approach to address the broadband infrastructure gaps that still plague rural and low-income communities, bringing the state closer to achieving affordable high-speed Internet service for all communities. The construction of the intermediate network is expected to be completed by December 2026.
Intermediate network refers to the physical infrastructure required to connect the global Internet to local networks
Intermediate network refers to high-capacity fiber lines that carry large amounts of data at higher speeds over longer distances between local networks. It is the physical infrastructure needed to connect global internet networks to local area networks and is an essential part of the state’s efforts to provide broadband for all.
Supply chain issues and nationwide broadband projects have created competition for needed materials. The State’s Invitation to Bid (IFB) was a proactive step to ensure supplies will be available at a pre-negotiated price when needed. The state has the flexibility to add an indefinite amount of materials as needed to complete construction over the next four years.
As a result of the competitive process, the state is assured of having ductwork, vaults, fiber optics, and building materials readily available for the next four years as construction begins in earnest.
Government Operations Secretary Amy Tong said procuring the equipment for the network is an essential first step to ensuring California has the supplies it needs to build the middle mile network in the years to come. coming.
“This fiber will be the backbone of the midstream network, which will provide access to unserved and underserved Californians so they can participate equally in the digital society,” Tong said.
Russ Nichols, acting director of the California Department of Technology and chairman of the Middle Mile Advisory Committee, said projects will begin soon.
“With this milestone in place, we can continue our planning with Caltrans to begin installing fiber as soon as possible,” Nichols said.
Last year, the Governor signed landmark legislation allocating $6 billion to achieve broadband for all, including $3.25 billion for the middle network and this year’s revised budget proposes $1.1 billion. additional resources to support the project as it is built.
The 2021 legislation included:
- $3.25 billion to build, operate and maintain a state-owned open-access network.
- $2 billion to build last-mile broadband connections that will connect homes and businesses to local networks. The legislation expedites the rollout of the project and allows tribes and local governments to access this funding.
- $750 million for a loan loss reserve fund to build the capacity of local governments and nonprofit organizations to secure funding for broadband infrastructure.
- Creation of a position of Broadband Czar in the California Department of Technology and a Broadband Advisory Committee made up of representatives from across the state government and members appointed by the Legislative Assembly.
In 2020, the state mobilized corporations, business leaders, and philanthropists through public-private partnerships to facilitate distance education in needy school districts across the state. The effort helped connect students who lacked high-speed internet or a suitable computing device at home with mobile hotspots, laptops, Chromebooks, tablets and other devices given.