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For Immediate Release

Board of Supervisors authorizes completion of broadband network design planning for Sonoma County’s unincorporated areas

SANTA ROSA, CA | December 06, 2022

The Board of Supervisors today authorized the Sonoma County Economic Development Board to move forward on finalizing the broadband internet infrastructure design for unserved and underserved areas of unincorporated Sonoma County, consistent with the Resilient Infrastructure pillar of Sonoma County’s Five-Year Strategic Plan. 

The broadband network design project is expected to be completed by June 2023 in partnership with the Golden State Connect Authority, a statewide initiative promoting access to quality broadband. The process will include an overview of necessary systems and functions required for specific regions, as well as in-depth information for approximately 40 miles of infrastructure along rural county roads, intersections, and zip codes. Grant funding for the project was awarded by the California Public Utilities Commission through the Local Agency Technical Assistance program in the amount of $499,554. 

“Sonoma County has made great strides in expanding broadband internet to the underserved populations in our community to address the status quo of unequal access,” said James Gore, chair of the Board of Supervisors. “Today marks the next phase in our efforts to close the digital divide in Sonoma County, and I applaud our economic development team for working toward solutions for an equitable, connected, and promising broadband future.” 

On June 8, 2021, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved funding to examine opportunities to increase broadband access in underserved or unserved regions of Sonoma County. Since that time, county staff has reviewed broadband deployment models, performed legal analysis on deployment models, conducted stakeholder engagement, and obtained a high-level design for the unincorporated county. 

On Oct. 5, 2021, the board approved county participation in Golden State Connect Authority to help secure grant funding for reimbursement of pre-construction expenses, including the completion of the network design plan. The current design indicates that 1,406 miles of fiber are needed to reach all unserved and underserved unincorporated areas, at an estimated cost of $292 million. In consultation with Golden State Connect Authority, the plan will be refined through analysis of potential project locations and census data to determine if infrastructure can be financed with bonds or grants.

Board materials related to the Local Agency Technical Assistance Grant and today’s update on the Access Sonoma Broadband Action Plan are available here:

https://sonoma-county.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=5948413&GUID=B17C2ED9-F822-4F59-82B0-441CD112C428 

For more information regarding Access Sonoma Broadband, please contact the Sonoma County Economic Development Board by calling (707) 565-7170, via email to EDB@Sonoma-County.org, or by visiting:
https://sonomaedb.org/current-initiatives/broadband

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Media Contact:
Dan Virkstis, Communication Specialist 
publicaffairs@sonoma-county.org 
575 Administration Drive, Suite 104A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
(707) 565-3040

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