FCC allocates $2.1 million to improve broadband access in Nevada County | TheUnion.com

FCC allocates $2.1 million to improve broadband access in Nevada County

Sam Corey
Staff Writer

A county desiring better internet access just caught a break.

In an effort to “close the digital divide in rural America” the Federal Communications Commission announced it will be allocating $2.1 million to Nevada County to build broadband internet, according to a Thursday press release by the commission.

The commission authorized over $50 million in funding over the next decade to support internet access for 21,000 unserved California businesses and homes.

The broadband targets 2,321 locations in Nevada County that don’t have access, and gives providers Cal.net and Viasat three years to complete 40 percent of the project. Each subsequent year, “build out must increase by 20 percent” until the project is completed by the end of the sixth year.

But Nevada County’s chief information officer believes the project’s completion will only take a year or two.

“I’m happy to see monies being released coming into our county,” said Steve Monaghan. “Every dollar helps.”

County supervisors agreed.

“These monies will enhance local quality of life, educational opportunities, and business development,” District 5 Supervisor Richard Anderson wrote in an email to The Union.

“It’s a priority for the board,” said Supervisor Dan Miller, who represents District 3.

WHERE TO CONNECT?

While the money has been awarded for specific areas in the county, it’s still unclear which spaces will actually get broadband.

“I’m just curious as to where those connections are going to be,” said Miller.

He, like Monaghan, wants the most underserved areas — like Rough and Ready, North San Juan, the town of Washington and Jones Bar Road — to gain internet access.

Overall, Monaghan was excited to foster a relationship with the internet provider, Cal.net.

“Once they have a foothold in our community,” he said, “then they will organically grow that network out.”

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey email scorey@theunion.com or call 530-477-4219.


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