When the pandemic began in March and students suddenly were learning from home it became abundantly clear that broadband was now a necessity. The North State Together (NST) team developed a broadband availability map in late March that showed what was available and where within our five-county area. The map shows details of type of technology available down to the census block.
This map was enlightening in showing the lack of affordable broadband availability within our rural communities. This lack of broadband has become an issue that NST has become passionate about and has assigned a staff member to be a part of the initiatives that several organizations are working on. NST is working closely with the North State Planning and Development Collective and the Center for Economic Development, both located in Chico, on their broadband efforts. These organizations have created the Broadband Consortia (https://www.nspdc.csuchico.edu/#/bc) which includes the Northeastern California Connect Consortium and the Upstate California Connect Consortium. This Broadband Consortia is working closely with CAFWD (https://cafwd.org) to develop a Statewide Broadband Action Policy which supports affordable Broadband for All. NST has provided a letter of support to CAFWD for their efforts and continues to attend their meetings, workshops, and seminars.
As the broadband availability issue continues to be at the front of everyone’s concerns in this new remote world, the North Far North Regional Consortium and the Centers of Excellence for Labor Market Research recognized the work that the NST team had done with its broadband map and contracted with NST to expand the map to the 22 counties in northern California that these organizations support. This further solidifies that broadband is a concern for everyone.
The NST team will continue to be involved in these important initiatives and are eager to work toward reliable and affordable broadband for all our communities in the north state.
CLICK HERE to check out North State Together’s latest Data Viz showing broadband availability in Northern California by clicking on the map above. Filter on county or available technology to see what’s in your area or available for students you serve.