Getting Smart: Know Your Facts About IFAN
High-speed Internet is essential for quality of life. With job applications, health services and homework assignments living in the Digital Space, there are many households still in the dark. In California alone, 16 percent of the state’s population do not have high-speed Internet at home and 30 percent do not have broadband and a computing device.
Broadband Internet allows users to access Internet-related services at significantly higher speeds than traditional dial-up modem connections.
Back in 2008, The California Advance Services Fund (CASF) was created to close the Digital Divide to provide grants and loans for the deployment of broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas by collecting a few cents per month on phone bills to authorizing and fund new projects.
But with funding running out, the CASF can be renewed again in 2017, expiring in 2023 pending authorization from the California Legislature. The Internet for All Now (IFAN) bill was introduced by Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia.
Since 2009, Race Communications has dedicated extensive resources to building and providing fiber-based Internet services to nearly 12,000 homes in unserved and underserved communities throughout California starting with the Mojave Air & Spaceport, which is now one of the largest private space research and development centers in California.
In Stallion Springs alone, Race Communications has made their much-needed services available to over 1,200 homes and plans to deliver service to another 2,400 homes in Bear Valley Springs, a nearby gated community.
Today, Race is the largest recipient of the CASF fund with 22 projects stretching the Eastern Sierras North to the Nevada border. (Please see map for related projects). Without CASF and “middle-mile,” which are providers that link a core network to a local plant, projects such as Digital 395, communities like Stallion Springs, Bear Valley Springs and Boron would not be able to get fiber connectivity, thus improving day-to-day life and boosting local economies.
For companies such as Race, funding like CASF is essential, which is why we support the passage of IFAN. As a company, we’ve seen firsthand the positive impact fiber optic connections can bring to a community. From boosting local economies and revitalizing communities there are so many benefits from a bill such as IFAN.
Benefits of High-Speed Internet
Public Health: Emergency Responders depend on broadband to operate efficiently in the field. Faster connections allow for First Responders to have faster and more coordinated responses with nearby agencies.
Public Safety: It is very common for some rural public safety agencies to lose communications in heavy rain, fog and snow and makes it even harder for law enforcement to dispatch an officer or have access to electronic records. Enabling a faster network from the middle-mile provider to the last-mile alleviates officer safety issues. Police in Boron have me and again commented on the vast improvement in their response times since Race brought fiber Internet connectivity to their city.
Education: Nationally, as many as 7 in 10 teachers assign homework that requires access to broadband, but one in three house- holds do not have access to broadband services. Race customers in gigafied communities have not only seen their children’s grades improve, but many have also gone back to complete higher education or attain a Master’s degree allowing them to better their economic situation.
What can you do to show your support for IFAN & CASF? Visit http://www.internetforallnow.org/ and subscribe with your email address for updates.
For more information on IFAN and California Emerging Technologies Fund (CETF)