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California Releases Map, Recommendations for Statewide Middle-Mile Broadband

The California Department of Technology has released a draft statewide broadband map and design recommendations from its third-party administrator, for building out the so-called “middle-mile” network.

California has released a draft map and design recommendations for a statewide open access broadband network. The release comes specifically from the California Department of Technology (CDT), and the work within aims to give Internet service providers the new infrastructure they need to bring broadband to the areas of the state that currently don’t have it.

Both the map and the design recommendations were provided by GoldenStateNet, which is a third-party administrator helping California to develop and ultimately complete the work toward this statewide network. All told, the map proposes about 8,700 miles of broadband infrastructure, all of it in the service of connecting residents who are currently unable to get high-speed Internet. It spans all of California, including rural, urban and tribal communities there.

In the weeks to come, GoldenStateNet and the California Department of Technology will team with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the California Department of Transportation to refine the routes recommended by the map. After that, the next step will be starting the preconstruction process. Finally, GoldenStateNet will then create a finalized map for this network.

This all comes as the result of a law passed by California lawmakers and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in July. That legislation called for the creation of this network, providing $3.25 billion to fund it.

This is part of an ongoing acceleration in the work to get all Californians connected to high-speed Internet. As mentioned in this space earlier this month, the Golden State Connect Authority (GSCA) — which is a 38-county collective working to get fiber for its members — announced a partnership with Utah’s UTOPIA Fiber, the largest open access municipal fiber network in the United States.

Editor’s note: Find CDT’s news release here, and the Statewide Middle-Mile Network Design here. In the design document, GoldenStateNet examines the state by region, using CPUC recommendation routes as “anchors for most middle-mile route solutions,” and aligning to entities with existing “regional, state, and federal broadband infrastructure funding” to maximize investments – such as organizations with California Advanced Services Fund monies. The document provides high-level regional highlights – noting, for example that in Region 5, the southernmost region, “significant opportunities to connect to other major Internet hubs in the West” exist, and “multiple telecom carriers and considerable existing fiber in some areas create opportunities for (indefeasible right of use) IRU alternatives.”

This story first appeared in Government Technology magazine, Techwire’s sister publication.
Zack Quaintance is the assistant news editor for Government Technology magazine. His background includes writing for daily newspapers across the country and developing content for a software company in Austin, Texas.