June 07, 2024 - 

SAN FRANCISCO – The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today announced the first round of recommended awardees for last mile broadband projects as part of the $2 billion Last Mile Federal Funding Account Grant Program. This program aims to expand internet access for underserved and unserved communities across California. Today’s announcement kicks off a rolling process that will continue throughout the summer and fall, highlighting the state’s commitment to bridging the digital divide through Broadband For All.

“California is making historic strides in expanding high-speed internet access, and the CPUC is leading the way,” said CPUC Executive Director Rachel Peterson. “We’re driving progress like never before, moving faster and delivering a bigger impact.”

Since the initial round of applications closed in September 2023, the CPUC has received and reviewed 484 grant applications from every county in the state, totaling more than $4.6 billion in requests. This overwhelming response highlights the urgent need for and the opportunity to expand internet access across California.

Investments are being made where they matter most

Many awardees are creating new networks, connecting the next generation to education, improving access to healthcare, and empowering rural communities for economic development and emergency connectivity. Combined, these proposed projects will serve predominantly disadvantaged and low-income communities across the state.

The first two recommendations (formally called Draft Resolutions) include awards to Golden State Connect Authority and Plumas Sierra Telecommunications in Imperial, Lassen, and Plumas Counties. In addition, awards to the Cities of Oakland and Fremont, the City and County of San Francisco, and Plumas Sierra Telecom in the counties of Alameda, San Francisco, and Sierra are also recommended. In all, the first two Resolutions propose awards for 11 grants for a total of $88.6 million. In addition, three projects in Plumas County for $16.7 million will be awarded by staff delegated authority.

Today’s action initiates the process to award last mile broadband grants to projects in every region in the state to established internet service providers, small providers, local governments, tribes, and special districts. Draft Resolutions with award recommendations will be released through the summer and early fall, each open for public comment. These recommendations will be considered and must be approved by vote at a public CPUC Voting Meeting.

The recommendations announced today will be on the July 11, 2024, Voting Meeting agenda. More information, including today’s two Draft Resolutions, is available on the CPUC’s Federal Funding Account Recommendations and Awards webpage.

Future application windows will be announced as funds are appropriated.

Fueling economic growth statewide

Established under Senate Bill 156 (2021), the CPUC’s Last Mile Federal Funding Account is fueling economic growth across rural, tribal, and urban communities statewide.

Prior to the recommendations released today, the CPUC previously issued grants to tribes and local agencies through the $50 million Local Agency and Technical Assistance (LATA) grant program. These grants funded eligible pre-construction expenses that facilitate deployment of broadband network deployment projects to areas in need. The work paid off, with nearly 75 percent of LATA grant recipients participating in an application for the first window of the Federal Funding Account.

In addition to the Last Mile Federal Funding Account, the CPUC is investing in a suite of programs in the state’s efforts in connecting millions of Californians with reliable, affordable high-speed Internet, including the California Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program and the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF).


About the California Public Utilities Commission

The CPUC regulates services and utilities, protects consumers, safeguards the environment, and assures Californians access to safe and reliable utility infrastructure and services. Visit www.cpuc.ca.gov for more information.

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