Project: Connected Community Initiative

We live in a digital age, where it is critical that all members of the community have access to the Internet. Broadband infrastructure is necessary for access to information for education, healthcare, government, public safety, social services, employment opportunities, breaking news, and many other common needs. Equally important is that people have the basic skills and proficiency to use online technology in ways that can improve their quality of life. Valley Vision has been at the center of coordinating strategic efforts to improve broadband infrastructure, access and adoption in California’s Capital Region for almost a decade.

What is the goal?

The goal is to fill critical broadband infrastructure gaps and increase access and adoption across the region to businesses, residents, and organizations, particularly within our unserved and underserved communities. Ultimately the initiative will help the region envision and plan for a competitive, future-ready infrastructure needed for regional prosperity.

Why is this important?

This work is important because broadband is not only considered an essential 21st century infrastructure necessary for economic competitiveness and high quality of life, but also civil right issue. Today, even entry-level jobs require online applications, teachers expect students as early as elementary grade levels to conduct research online, and police and fire departments rely on technology to improve community safety. But gaps in broadband availability, Internet cost and barriers in user skill encumber quality of life and impede business expansion, job creation, online banking, at-home education programs, healthcare, public safety, and e-government.

What is Valley Vision’s role?

Valley Vision has been working on regional broadband initiatives since 2009. In 2015, we began working to get Internet education into at-risk neighborhood schools through our School2Home Neighborhood Transformation initiative. In 2016, Valley Vision continued this work and partnered with the California Emerging Technology Fund on a Yolo County AgTech Pilot, which documented the need for broadband among growers and introduced broadband-enabled technologies to Yolo County farms.

The Connected Community Initiative is, multi-pronged, featuring a range of efforts from helping students and parents gain access to helping cities and counties identify assests and funding strategies for investment in order to close coverage gaps and improve Internet speeds and connectivity. The Connected Community Initiative includes engaging a variety of public and private partners to develop broadband infrastructure and adoption projects to help close the digital divide.  Through the Connected Community Initiative, Valley Vision will help elevate the importance of a regional strategy for a future-ready broadband infrastructure critical for regional prosperity.

When?

Valley Vision has been facilitating discussions between industry, government, and community stakeholders about improving digital access in the Sacramento region since 2009. We received funding from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to manage the Connected Capital Area Broadband Consortium (CCABC) in 2017 and 2018. The Connected Community Initiative is an outgrowth of Valley Vision’s work on regional broadband initiatives since 2009.

Our partners …

To carry out various aspects of our broadband work, we have partnered with California Emerging Technology Fund, California Public Utilities Commission, USDA, California Air Resources Board, Sacramento Municipal Utilities District, Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, the California Department of Education, California Department of Technology, Sacramento Area Council of Governments, California Telehealth Network, Leataata Floyd Elementary School, Yolo LAFCo, City of Sacramento and Sacramento, Yolo, and Yuba counties, network service providers, and many other stakeholders and partners.

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