The recent infusion of state and federal dollars aimed at expanding broadband networks and services has been massive and unprecedented. Taking full advantage of these funding streams now requires similarly unprecedented engagement and partnering across all sectors, according to stakeholders convened last week by California Forward (CA FWD) and the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF). Without such collaboration, the state will be hard pressed to swiftly and efficiently deliver on the promise of these legacy investments.
The practical and forward-looking conversation focused on problem-solving and priorities for achieving new partnerships and effective outcomes. It included many of the more than 40 sponsor organizations of a widely attended virtual briefing by U.S. Senator Alex Padilla and other leaders on Nov. 30, 2021, called “Federal Infrastructure Funds for California: Broadband and Beyond.” During that webinar, participants learned about the $65 billion in broadband funding contained within the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal (IIJA), with a large share expected to go to California.