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Five County Area Collaborating On Broadband

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Sonora, CA — A five-county central Sierra region, including Tuolumne, Calaveras, Alpine, Amador and Mariposa, is planning to develop a roadmap for broadband expansion.

The five counties have hired the firm NEO Connect to identify gaps in broadband service, establish priorities, and locate funding to accelerate investment in new infrastructure.

The federal American Rescue Act has billions of dollars in broadband money available to help bridge the digital divide, and the group is hoping to receive some of it.

Rural areas have been more underserved in the area of broadband, and disparities were highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic when many started working from home, and students were kept out of the classroom.

According to Cole Przybyla, Tuolumne County’s Director of Innovation and Business Assistance, the Central Sierra Broadband Roadmap will document and aggregate regional broadband assets, create uniform policies to aid in the acceleration of broadband infrastructure and provide an online tool and process for existing service providers to leverage infrastructure and funding to improve services. The goal is to work with existing providers to facilitate improvements and not replace what existing providers have developed.

As part of the collaborative effort, Tuolumne County Supervisor Kathleen Haff is encouraging everyone living in the five-county area to take part in a survey about your internet service. It can be found here.