"Reducing the Digital Divide"

Access to broadband is an increasingly essential resource for educational opportunity, health care access, economic growth, and civic engagement. Despite the importance of broadband, access remains uneven throughout the state with 51.3% of rural households having no access to high-speed broadband, defined as download speeds of 100 Mbps. 

Golden State Connect Authority aims to reduce this digital divide by increasing access to reliable, affordable high-speed broadband for all rural Californians.

Who We Are

Expand broadband in rural counties through the pursuit of technical assistance and funding for member counties; and

Golden State Connect Authority (GSCA) is a joint powers authority designed for the purpose of increasing access to reliable, affordable high-speed broadband for all rural Californians. Governance of GSCA will be conducted by elected Supervisors from rural counties that elect to join GSCA. This local review and decision process by rural county boards as to whether to join GSCA is underway now, so please check back frequently for additional updates as GSCA continues to advance.
Through the collective efforts of its members, GSCA will pursue initiatives to:

Our Story

Contact

GOLDEN STATE CONNECT AUTHORITY

Address
1215 K Street, Suite 1650 Sacramento, CA 95814
Email
info@rcrcnet.org
Telephone
(916) 447-4806

 

© 2021 Golden State Connect Authority

Install and operate open-access, municipal broadband infrastructure starting with select initial locations and then expanding to additional sites.

The Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC), a thirty-seven-member county service organization on behalf of rural counties, initiated the formation of GSCA. All RCRC member counties are eligible to join GSCA through the approval of their county Board of Supervisors and have been notified directly of the opportunity. GSCA will be governed by an elected Supervisor from each member county, and day-to-day operations will be managed by RCRC staff.

Over the last five years the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC), a thirty-seven-member county service organization, has increased its advocacy efforts in promoting policies that close the digital divide and bring reliable, high-speed broadband access to rural areas of the state. In July 2021 Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 156, establishing a landmark $6 billion investment in broadband infrastructure, representing a significant step in bridging the digital divide. The enactment of Senate Bill 156 has introduced new opportunities to expand RCRC’s efforts significantly, including explicit authority for county entities to operate broadband systems, the creation of a state-owned, open-access middle mile network and establishment of innovative programs to fund broadband deployment in unserved and underserved areas of the state.


To best take advantage of these opportunities, RCRC initiated the formation of GSCA to leverage collective efforts on behalf of rural counties in the provision of technical assistance and the establishment of broadband infrastructure in under connected areas. It is intended that GSCA will assist rural counties in identifying pathways for development of broadband infrastructure within their communities, including the construction of municipal owned and/or operated broadband systems, among other options.

Resources

The following resources are a compilation of informative documents regarding broadband as well as the initiatives of GSCA. Additional resources will be added as they become available.

“RCRC’s Rural Broadband Initiative”
 Provides an overview of the objective and key initiatives of the GSCA joint powers authority which is currently in development through the Rural County Representatives of California. 

Informational Documents:

“Initial Analysis and Guidance on County Policy Stemming from California’s Historic New Broadband Budget and Policy”
 A briefing from the California Community Foundation on Senate Bill 156 which provides an overview of the legislation, the opportunities it presents and details on important next steps for county broadband policy leads.
 

News Release from Office of the Governor: “Governor Newsom Signs Historic Broadband Legislation to Help Bridge Digital Divide” - July 20, 2021 

RCRC Press Releases:

Our Initiatives

Phase 1: Ensure all member counties have broadband strategic plans
RCRC, through its affiliated agency Golden State Finance Authority, is serving as the collective applicant on a U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) technical assistance grant that, if approved for funding, will result in broadband strategic plans for 26 rural counties that do not have one.

GSCA is currently in the process of development. The overall objective of the organization is to increase access to reliable, affordable high-speed broadband for all rural Californians. GSCA will implement this objective in three phases as follows:
Please Note: Phases and activities listed are dependent upon establishment of GSCA and the approval of its board and are therefore subject to change. See “RCRC’s Rural Broadband Initiative” handout for additional detail.

Phase 2: Equip rural counties with information and resources about innovative models and approaches to broadband deployment
GSCA will conduct workshops to inform rural counties of the innovative models and approaches for delivery of reliable, affordable, high-speed broadband and to showcase successful municipal broadband projects from across the U.S.

Phase 3: Implement open-access municipal broadband demonstration projects
GSCA will identify and pursue appropriate projects to install broadband fiber utilizing an open-access, public-benefit, municipal model beginning with select initial locations and then expanding to additional project areas.

GOLDEN STATE CONNECT AUTHORITY