Lake County News, California – Governor signs Aguiar-Curry and Gonzalez bills to bring internet to everyone
New bills enacted this week aim to modernize and expand the Internet across California.
Assembly Bill 14, drafted by Assembly Member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), and Senate Bill 4 by Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), were enacted this week by Governor Gavin Newsom.
AB 14 and SB 4 are intended to revolutionize the state’s broadband deployment program under the California Advanced Services Program, and to provide increased funding to bring California into the technological 21st century.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the huge gaps in internet connectivity at speeds sufficient for too many Californians.
As more Californians have struggled to take distance education courses, work virtually, access telehealth services, and protect small business participation in the virtual marketplace, the need to connect the state to sufficient speeds with adaptable technology has reached critical proportions.
“The Newsom government’s approval of AB 14 and SB 4 is a historic development for California,” said Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), whose district includes Lake County, on Friday. “In partnership with my colleague Senator Gonzalez and two dozen of our fellow co-authors, we underscored the critical need to modernize our state’s broadband policy and programs, and a commitment to long-term funding to ensure Internet connectivity for all of California communities, rural and urban.
She added, “I am extremely proud that our efforts also contributed to a budget deal between Governor Newsom, Pro Tem Atkins and President Rendon that provided a generational $ 6 billion investment in broadband infrastructure. Modern and adaptable technology in all corners of our state will provide access to education and skills training, healthcare, agricultural technology, and small business participation in the digital economy. Today, Governor Newsom’s signing honored our commitment to the Internet for All. “
“This is huge news that will make a significant positive difference in the lives of Californians,” said Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach). “The adoption of SB 4 and AB 14 means that children will no longer have to do their homework outside of fast food restaurants. This means that medically fragile people will have more access to care through telehealth, and small businesses and workers will have more access to online resources, greater upward mobility and economic opportunities. The need for a high-quality internet and future-proof infrastructure has never been greater than it is today and I am glad that my colleagues in the Legislative Assembly and the Newsom government have taken on board. this bold step to help us bridge the digital divide. Today, California is leading stronger than ever in digital equity and broadband for all. “
The Internet for All Act of 2021 prioritizes the deployment of broadband infrastructure in California’s most vulnerable and unserved rural and urban communities by expanding the ongoing fundraising deposited in the California Advanced Services Fund to provide communities the grants needed to bridge the digital divide.
AB 14 and SB 4 provide a vital pathway to connect the California workforce to gainful employment, harness life-saving telemedicine technology, democratize distance learning, enable precision farming, and support economic transactions on the 21st century electronics market.
These historic votes build on the Governor’s $ 6 billion Broadband Trailer Bill which extends eligibility for grants administered by the California Public Utilities Commission to local and tribal governments, which are willing and able to Quickly and effectively connect households, community anchor institutions (including educational institutions, emergency response fairs, and health care facilities), small businesses and employers.
AB 14 and SB 4 are measured and meaningful approaches to building a state-wide intermediate fiber network that will provide higher speeds and access to connectivity to all those not served on the along the way to deployment.
Aguiar-Curry represents the fourth assembly district, which includes all of Lake and Napa counties, parts of Colusa, Solano and Sonoma counties, and all of Yolo County except West Sacramento.