Rural high-speed internet

Placer County supervisors award grant to expand service to rural communities

Auburn, Calif.- The Placer County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday awarded Astound Broadband LLC, dba Wave Broadband a $500,000 Last Mile Broadband Grant to expand high-speed internet service to the county’s rural communities.

The grant funding will assist Wave Broadband with its $2.2M of proposed projects to develop and improve infrastructure to serve approximately 1,500 residences and businesses in Auburn, North Auburn and Penryn.

“The county has been tirelessly advocating for the expansion and improvement of broadband services on behalf of its residents, especially those in our rural communities,” said Placer County Chief Information Officer Jarrett Thiessen. “The COVID-19 pandemic shifted many households to in-home learning and work-from-home setups, which exacerbated the challenges residents face when they have inadequate service. We aim to improve service through the Last Mile Broadband Grant program and through continuing to work with local, state and federal partners on service enhancements.”

Expanding access

The focus of the Placer County 2021 Last Mile Broadband Grant program is to provide resources to new and existing internet service providers to invest in building broadband infrastructure that supports economic development, public safety, remote learning, telehealth services and overall community prosperity in Placer County.

The county continues to seek grant opportunities for rural broadband programs at the federal and state levels with the intent to deploy new grant opportunities for broadband infrastructure improvements in the future.

Additionally, Placer will continue to advocate for improved broadband service through participation in Golden State Connect Authority (GSCA), a joint powers authority formed by Rural County Representatives of California for the purpose of expanding broadband access and quality in rural counties. GSCA will be governed by a delegate supervisor from each of its member rural counties.

“The lack of reliable internet services for Placer residents can be a safety concern, especially for our rural communities,” said District 5 Supervisor Cindy Gustafson. “It is vital we advocate for our residents and assist in improving access to reliable internet services locally and throughout the state.”

Placer County will be launching its annual Internet Satisfaction Survey later this month. The intent of the survey is to help identify communities, both residential and commercial, that are unserved or underserved with broadband service. The county will use data collected to better inform future infrastructure grant decisions.

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