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ATCAA Receives Broadband Study Grant

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Sonora, CA — $250,000 is the amount of the California Emergency Technologies Fund grant received by the Amador Tuolumne Community Action Agency (ATCAA) for the expressed purpose of pursuing widespread broadband in its five county area.

Assistance Project Manager Michelle Shelton says the process actually started last year when ATCAA applied for a grant to expand neighborhood information centers, increase broadband access, teach people (specifically seniors and the disabled) how to use computers, and supplying those individuals with computers. C.E.T.F. came back to ATCAA with the idea of a grant to be used for broadband studies and community outreach. C.E.T.F. reports that only 45-50% of internet users in rural counties have broadband capability.

Shelton is hopeful that ATCAA will be able to partner with Golden State Cellular which is applying for a $1.5 to $2 million grant that would allow the company to upgrade its cell phone towers in order to facilitate broadband use.

Shelton adds she is excited about years two and three of the project because they could bring a 211 call system to the Mother Lode that would allow broadband users to find health and human services agencies and regional telemedicine while still expanding neighborhood information centers to bring computers to the aforementioned groups.

Written by Bill Johnson