By Claire Morales True, Managing Editor
SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom lauded the Biden-Harris Administration for its allocation of funding to deploy high-speed Internet access to everyone in America.
California will receive $1.86 billion in funding from the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program as part of President Biden’s 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Newsom said.
Governor Newsom said: “Together with the Biden-Harris Administration, we’re connecting millions of Californians with reliable, affordable high-speed Internet. With the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, billions of dollars are headed our way, boosting our efforts to provide all Californians – regardless of zip code – access to the Internet.”
“ This infusion of funding will help build on the work done in recent years with the Legislature to cut red tape around broadband infrastructure projects and get high-speed Internet access to more Californians, helping make the digital divide a thing of the past,” Newsom added in a statement sent to Philippine News Today.
The historic allocation nearly doubles the amount of available funding for “last-mile” broadband infrastructure in California.
In 2021, the Governor signed historic legislation allocating $6 billion for achieving Broadband for All, including $2 billion for similar “last-mile” projects and $3.25 billion for the middle-mile network, and last year’s budget put an additional $550 million toward the project as it moves into construction.
As part of the 2021 funding, Governor Newsom and the Legislature streamlined state permitting regulations for the middle-mile project – through CEQA exemptions and alternative delivery methods – that have cut project permitting timelines from 30 months to under one year. The Governor is working this year on similar streamlining to boost critical infrastructure construction across the state.
Last year, California started construction on the nearly $4 billion broadband statewide “middle mile” initiative, which will be the nation’s largest broadband backbone infrastructure network. Roughly one in five Californians do not have access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet.