11.18.2021 | News Release
This week, the California Department of Technology announced a significant investment in broadband infrastructure improvements, identifying 18 initial broadband projects statewide and four corridors in the San Diego region serving rural communities and Tribal Nations (State Route 67, State Route 76, State Route 78, and State Route 79).
These investments follow state legislation committing $6 billion and federal legislation committing $65 billion to improve broadband connectivity. The initial broadband projects identified on Wednesday will support the creation of an open-access middle-mile broadband network, helping to bring broadband to unserved or underserved communities. The middle-mile of the broadband network links the underlying fiber infrastructure to the internet service providers network, ultimately delivering broadband service to homes and businesses.
The San Diego region was positioned well to receive this substantial state investment thanks in large part to the partnership between SANDAG and Caltrans, work on the 2021 Regional Plan, and the efforts of the SANDAG Regional Digital Divide Taskforce to study the digital divide and develop a Digital Equity Strategy and Action Plan.
“SANDAG is committed to closing the digital divide and bringing reliable, affordable broadband service to every person in the San Diego region including Tribal Nations,” said SANDAG CEO Hasan Ikhrata. “This investment will not only help us improve access to opportunity by enhancing high-speed internet availability, it will also help ensure that people in every corner of our region are positioned to benefit from smart transportation infrastructure included in the 2021 Regional Plan.”
In addition to improving access to opportunities for remote learning and virtual healthcare, closing the digital divide has implications for mobility and sustainability. Broadband infrastructure improvements are critical to the 2021 Regional Plan, which will modernize the San Diego region’s transportation system, creating travel options that are accessible and as fast or faster than driving alone.
The corridors identified in the San Diego region serve rural communities and Tribal Nations and include areas which are currently unserved by broadband infrastructure, as shown in the Regional Digital Divide Taskforce’s interactive data tool.
'This announcement marks a foundational step in changing the landscape for access to communications for the Native American Tribes in San Diego County. The Indian Reservations in California lack access to middle-mile fiber backhaul to support their community's communications/broadband needs, which are critically important for people to stay connected in every sense of the word,” said Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association Director of Technology, Matthew Rantanen. “We continue to work with local, regional and State efforts to solve connectivity issues for all of California's people.'
SANDAG will work closely with Caltrans and other regional partners to implement these projects to improve broadband infrastructure and bridge the digital divide.
For media inquiries, please contact Stacy Garcia at 619.699.1950 or PIO@sandag.org