Rural Broadband

Economic Development

Rural Broadband Intiative

A Joint Venture for Rural California

GSFA, alongside affiliate entities Golden State Connect Authority (GSCA) and Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC), is working diligently to bring high speed broadband services to historically unserved and underserved communities of California. In a joint venture, the three organizations endeavor endeavor to advance development of critical infrastructure for rural communities so residents and businesses can fully participate in the 21st Century Economy.

$2.7 Million Federal Grant Award

In August of 2022, the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded GSFA a $2.7 million federal grant on behalf of rural California. With this funding, GSFA, as contract manager and grant administrator, is assisting rural counties in establishing foundational readiness for broadband infrastructure deployment within their communities.

To-date, GSFA has assisted 25 of its Member Counties in establishing countywide broadband strategic plans and helped two areas within the county membership to develop Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS). The majority of the broadband stategic plans were completed in 2023 and expected to be reviewed and approved by mid 2024. Both CEDS were completed and accepted by EDA in late 2023.

  • Alpine
  • Amador
  • Butte
  • Calaveras
  • Colusa
  • Glenn
  • Inyo
  • Lassen
  • Madera
  • Mariposa
  • Modoc
  • Monterey
  • Napa
  • Plumas
  • San Benito
  • San Luis Obispo
  • Shasta
  • Sierra
  • Siskiyou
  • Sutter
  • Tehama
  • Tulare
  • Tuolumne
  • Yolo
  • Yuba
  1. Colusa County CEDS – Colusa County
  2. Eastern Sierra CEDS– Inyo, Mono, Alpine Counties

The Importance of High Speed Broadband

Broadband deployment is one of the most critical missing infrastructure components to support economic health and growth in rural California. California’s rural communities play a crucial role in supporting the world’s fifth largest economy. The absence of bedrock services such as highspeed broadband can inhibit unserved and underserved communities from participating in the 21st Century Economy. It can also put life and safety at risk, place students behind their urban and suburban peers and add significant costs to healthcare and other public services.

The establishment of high-speed internet access is vital to the overall health, safety, education, and economic well-being of our rural communities. This critical investment represents the first crucial step in broadband implementation for 27 of our member counties, helping them to establish foundational readiness for broadband deployment, and advance the overall reduction of the digital divide in rural California.

– Jack Garamendi

Calaveras County Supervisor and GSCA Board Chair

Oroville, California, USA - November 23, 2021. Photo by Matt Gush.

Goals of Strategic Plans Under Grant

The strategic plans will increase the ability of those rural counties to invite and direct broadband investment into their communities in a strategic manner that ultimately delivers broadband for all residents and businesses. It will also open the door for counties to take advantage of other upcoming federal and state funding opportunities that often require broadband strategic plans to be in place.

Purpose of CEDS Under Grant

CEDS are local stakeholder driven strategies that guide regional economic development, encourage partnerships and collaboration, and improve economic outcomes and overall quality of life in a region. Having a current CEDS in place is a pre-requisite for access to many federal infrastructure and technical assistance programs.

Want to Learn More?

For more information, resources and updates on the Rural Boradband Initiative visit Golden State Connect Authority.

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