Time and again, I am asked how and when our rural communities will have better access to wired high-speed internet service. The county has a Broadband Master Plan developed with help from local independent providers as well as ATT and Comcast. The next step to implementation is formation of a Fiber Initiative Team of public/private stakeholders to identify funding sources and possible pilot projects.
The County’s Economic Development Team has taken the lead and will report back this summer to the Board of Supervisors with plans to move forward. The focus will be on funding the “mid-mile” main line, including installing fiber under Highway 9 from the city of Santa Cruz to the Santa Cruz County line at the Summit.
Local service providers, such as Cruzio, have expressed interest in providing resources for the “final mile”; that is, wired access to homes and businesses from the main mid-mile line. As with most public infrastructure projects, available funding is the key. I’m hoping to hear about feasible options soon.