When the pandemic began in March and students suddenly were learning from home it became abundantly clear that broadband was now a necessity for the rural North State. 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. NST has become a regional leader that is driving initiatives for affordable broadband. We have assigned a staff member to work closely with the North State Planning and Development Collective and the Center for Economic Development, both located in Chico. 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
As the broadband availability issue continues to be at the front of everyone’s concerns in this new remote world, the North/Far North Center of Excellence for Labor Market Research recognized the immense value of having a broadband availability map. As a result, they contracted with NST to expand the map to the 22 counties comprising the North/Far North region. This further solidifies that broadband is a concern for everyone.\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.
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. Filter on county and/or available technology to see what’s available in your area for the students you serve.
Closing schools and transitioning to online learning is critical to stymying the spread of COVID-19, but relying on remote learning and online classes also exposes our region’s deep digital divide.