Published: December 2020

California legislators urged to make significant investments in public broadband

Consumer Action joined advocates in urging California legislators to support the state bill "Broadband for All" (SB 4), which enables local governments to make a massive billion-dollar investment in public infrastructure by unlocking the bond market for local communities. The pandemic has highlighted the dire need to move quickly on providing broadband access, especially to underserved and underinvested communities. With one in eight families in California disconnected, and nearly one million school-aged children with no internet connection, the lack of access is creating additional hardships during a time when connectivity is more essential than ever.

Consumer Action and its partners have long advocated for the need to ensure affordable and high-speed broadband to all Californians. Broadband for All (SB 4) would enable local governments to secure long-term low-interest financing in the same way electricity was paid for in deep rural markets. Those investments, designed to give long terms—multiple decades—to repay the bonds, will be in fiber optic infrastructure. California’s current law discriminates against local community bidders to build broadband infrastructure, favors spending state money on slow outdated infrastructure, does not cover all rural and low-income Californians, and has been underfunded.

Broadband for All would:

  1. Stabilize and expand California’s Internet infrastructure program (CASF) and allow the state to invest $100s of million on broadband infrastructure every year until the digital divide is closed.
  2. Enable local governments to bond finance more than $1 billion with state support to secure long-term low-interest funding to build local infrastructure.
  3. Build broadband networks that meet the goals of the Governor’s Executive Order with an emphasis on scalability to ensure future proofing in infrastructure financed by the state. This ensures access is built to last for the 21st century.
  4. Direct support towards low-income neighborhoods that lack broadband access.
  5. Expand eligibility for state support to all rural Californian communities


Lead Organization

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Other Organizations

Access Now | ACLU of California | California Center for Rural Policy | California State Association of Counties | Canal Alliance | Central Coast Broadband Consortium | Coalition for COVID Recovery, Support and Prevention | Common Sense | Computer Science Teachers Association | Consumer Action | Consumer Reports | Contextly | Council for a Strong America | County of Marin Board of Supervisors | County of Monterey Board of Supervisors | CUE | Environmental Center of San Diego | Electronic Frontier Foundation | EveryoneOn | Fight for the Future | Founder Academy | Georgetown Friends of the Library | Great School voices | Humboldt County Office of Education | Indivisible Sacramento | Indivisible Ventura | Khan Academy | MakeKnowledge | Mayor, City of Daly City | Media Alliance | MediaJustice | mohuman | New America's Open Technology Institute | Normal Heights| Indivisible | North Peninsula Democratic Club | OCHIN California Telehealth Network | Open Door Community Health Centers | Peninsula Young Democrats | Public Knowledge | Reddit, Inc. | Rooted In Resistance | Rural County Representatives of California | San Diego County Office of Education | TechEquity Collaborative | The Greenlining Institute | Tony Madrigal, Modesto City Councilmember, District 2 | Tucows | Western Governors University | Writers Guild of America West

More Information

For more information, please visit EFF.

Download PDF

California legislators urged to make significant investments in public broadband   (SB_4_December_letter.pdf)




Quick Menu

Facebook FTwitter T