Large infrastructure projects, like expanding internet service, never move as quickly as we’d like. Even so, we made notable progress expanding high-speed internet (i.e., “broadband”) in Nevada County in 2021. The County distributed $500,000 in grant funding to four different internet service providers in a second round of its last-mile grant program. Once completed, those projects will offer high-speed internet service to 440 households. In July, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a $6 billion broadband expansion package, in a ground-breaking move that will build a state-owned, open access “middle-mile” network. We are monitoring that process and advocating to the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) on exactly where the network should pass through Nevada County.
Finally, County leaders also advocated for two broadband projects that were ultimately successful in receiving CPUC approval and just over $8 million in funding from the state. Those projects both happen to be in District 1 and will connect 527 households to high-speed internet. See this press release for more details. Note also that we have a comprehensive plan in place and are getting ready to create a “programmatic environmental impact report (EIR),” a tool that will help expedite approval of upcoming broadband projects. While we are dependent upon internet service providers to build new internet networks where they see fit, we do try to direct them to places most in need.