Addressing the Digital Divide in California

Source: Appeal Democrat

Just ask anyone in the foothills if they have trouble getting a phone signal or finding an internet provider. There’s a good chance you’ll have to do it in person … they won’t be able to take your call or get your email or text. “It’s awful, just terrible,” said Randy Fletcher, Yuba County supervisor for the foothills district. “As soon as you hit the foothills, you lose service. Anything we can do is for the better.” It’s a problem for foothills residents, as well as other rural communities throughout the state, due to the landscape and the distance between households. Smaller populations mean fewer cell towers and internet providers, Fletcher said, and it’s a problem that needs to be addressed. “One of the biggest things has to do with safety. Between the sheriff’s office, the fire department, or just for education, without the infrastructure, you are limited in what you can do in the foothills, and that’s a big piece of the puzzle,” Fletcher said.