Governor signs Aguiar-Curry and Gonzalez bills to provide internet for all

October 09, 2021
Lake County News Reports 
New bills signed into law this week aim to modernize and expand the internet across California.
Assembly Bill 14, written by Assembly member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), and Senate Bill 4 by Sen. Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), were signed into law this week by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
AB 14 and SB 4 are meant to revolutionize the state’s broadband deployment program under the California Advanced Services Program, and provide increased funding to bring California into the technological 21st Century.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the massive gaps in internet connectivity at sufficient speeds for too many Californians.
As more Californians have struggled to conduct distance learning, virtual work, access telehealth services and safeguard small business participation in the virtual marketplace, the need to connect the State at sufficient speeds with adaptable technology has reached crisis proportions.
"Gov. Newsom’s approval of AB 14 and SB 4 is a historic development for California," Aguiar-Curry said Friday (D-Winters), whose district includes Lake County. "In partnership with my colleague Sen. Gonzalez, and two dozen of our colleague co-authors, we have highlighted the critical need to modernize our state’s broadband policy and programs, and a commitment to long-term funding to guarantee internet connectivity for all California communities, rural and urban.”
She added, “I am immensely proud that our efforts also contributed to a budget deal between Gov. Newsom, Pro Tem Atkins and Speaker Rendon that provided a generational $6 billion investment in broadband infrastructure. Modern, adaptable technology in every corner of our state will provide access to education and job training, health care, ag-tech, and small business participation in the digital economy. Today, Gov. Newsom’s signature has delivered on our commitment to Internet for All."
“This is huge news that will make a significant positive difference in the lives of Californians,” said Sen. Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach). “Enacting SB 4 and AB 14 means that children will no longer have to do their homework outside of fast-food restaurants. It means medically fragile individuals will have more access to care via telehealth, and small businesses and workers will have more access to online resources, greater upward mobility, and economic opportunity. The need for high-quality internet and future-proof infrastructure has never been more important than now and I am pleased that my colleagues in the Legislature and Gov. Newsom have taken this bold step to help us close the digital divide. Today, California leads stronger than ever toward digital equity and Broadband for All.”
The Internet for All Act of 2021 prioritizes the deployment of broadband infrastructure in California’s most vulnerable and unserved rural and urban communities by extending the ongoing collection of funds deposited into the California Advanced Services Fund to provide communities with grants necessary to bridge the digital divide.
AB 14 and SB 4 offer a vital pathway to connect California’s workforce to gainful employment, harness the lifesaving technology of telemedicine, democratize distance learning, enable precision agriculture, and sustain economic transactions in the 21st Century E-Marketplace.
These historic votes build upon the Governor’s $6 billion Broadband Trailer bill that extends eligibility for grants administered by the California Public Utilities Commission to local and tribal governments, who are willing and able to quickly and efficiently connect households, community anchor institutions (including educational institutions, fairgrounds for emergency response, and health care facilities), small businesses, and employers.
AB 14 and SB 4 are measured and meaningful approaches to building a statewide fiber middle-mile network that will provide higher speeds and access to connectivity to all those who are unserved along the path of deployment.