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State, Nonprofit to Hold Broadband for All Workshop

The state IT department, the public utilities commission and the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership are all involved in an effort to gather feedback on development of the State Digital Equity Plan and the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment five-year plan.

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership and the state of California will hold a listening session at CSU Monterey Bay Friday to discuss the Central Coast’s digital divide.

The event will gather over 100 residents and local organizations to discuss solutions to the lack of affordable and reliable access to the Internet, technology devices and skill development. The listening session is part of the state’s program, “Broadband for All,” which aims to close the digital divide and promote digital equity in California communities.

The digital divide refers to the growing gap between those who have access to the Internet and technology and those who do not. The divide disproportionately affects low-income households, older adults, veterans, individuals with disabilities, rural residents and members of racial and ethnic minority groups.

The state has invested billions of dollars to achieve “Broadband for All” and ensure that every resident has access to affordable and reliable broadband Internet, devices and technology skills training.

In August 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to improve digital connectivity across the state. The order directed the Broadband Council to develop a statewide action plan and promote digital equity throughout California.

Some goals of the program include ensuring all Californians have high-performance broadband available at home, schools, libraries and businesses; ensuring all Californians have access to affordable broadband and devices to access the Internet; and ensuring all Californians can access training and support to enable digital inclusion.

During Friday’s Broadband for All Workshop, residents and stakeholders from local government, businesses, libraries, schools and nonprofits will brainstorm ways to provide broadband access to everyone in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties.

The event is free and open to the public. Speakers and discussions will take place from 9 a.m.-10 a.m., followed by small group conversations from 10 a.m.-11 a.m. at the University Center, 4314 6th Ave., Seaside.

Find meeting information here.

©2023 The Monterey County Herald. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.