September 2014  
Let's Talk Broadband 

Welcome to the first issue of Let's Talk Broadband, a quarterly e-newsletter for California local government officials up to speed on broadband (high-speed internet) issues brought to you by the California Emerging Technology Fund and Valley Vision.  

Winters Mayor Cecilia Aguiar-Curry is spearheading efforts to integrate technology in local schools and get families connected to broadband at home.

How Broadband Can Help Your 

Community Thrive 



Closing the Digital Divide is one of the most important efforts Californians can make to help the next generation succeed in the increasingly global economy.  The California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) and Valley Vision are working to inform and empower California local government officials around technology issues, with goal of building a strong coalition to advance our common issues at the local, state and national level.


To kick this effort off, CETF, in partnership with the California State Association of Counties, the League of California Cities, the Rural County Representatives of California and Valley Vision, held a two-day Roundtable last October in Sacramento that brought together 80 participants from 21 counties, along with state and federal agency representatives and Internet service providers. We're planning a second Roundtable for next year.


SAVE THE DATE - April 2-3 2015 

2nd Local Government Roundtable  - Riverside

Those who participated last year will be receiving invitations for the 2015 event.  There is limited space for new participants. If you'd like to learn more, please contact Alana O'Brien at


Through the Roundtable and this newsletter, we want to spur discussion about what California local leaders need to do to meet the state and local broadband deployment and adoption goals.  So please tell us what you are working on and we'll share best practices.  You can send your ideas to Jodi Mulligan at


California League of Cities President Jose Cisneros, the elected Treasurer of San Francisco, describes the city's Financial Empowerment initiative, and why having affordable online access is critical for residents to benefit from broadband services.  Mountain View Councilmember Mike Kasperzak shares his experience working with Google on its recently announced plan to deploy fiber in several California cities.


Please send us feedback about the newsletter, and thank you for your commitment to get all Californians connected.




Sunne Wright McPeak, President and CEO, California Emerging Technology Fund


Trish Kelley, Senior Vice Presdient, Valley Vision, Connected Capital Area Broadband Consortium

Leaders in Action 

We will be posting interviews with Leaders in Action to hear how they are working to close the Digital Divide.  Our first conversations are with Josť Cisneros, the Treasurer for the City and County of San Francisco, and the current President of the League of California Cities (LCC), and Mountain View Councilmember Mike Kasperzak, a past LCC president.


Treasurer Josť Cisneros


Josť Cisneros says that the digital divide mirrors the financial divide that has left so many Americans stuck outside of the financial mainstream and dependent on high-cost and often predatory fringe financial services. He launched the Office of Financial Empowerment in San Francisco to help lower-income residents enter the financial mainstream, build assets, and plan for a financially stable future.


"Universal and affordable broadband access is a wealth-building tool with the power to improve economic prospects for those in San Francisco and throughout this state," he says.  Today, the internet is a primary means of engaging with your bank or credit union and to access savings tools and financial education resources - to say nothing of job opportunities, government services, and other crucial supports for families and individuals. The Office of Financial Empowerment is engaging partners in the private and nonprofit sector to identify and develop new and innovative financial products and technology that can help support wealth-building and financial education.


Please click here to read the full interview with Treasurer Cisneros and to learn about CurrenC SF, an initiative to bring working households into the financial mainstream through direct deposit and electronic payroll, reducing reliance on high-cost check cashing services. Over 120 employers are participating in CurrenC SF.


Councilmember Mike Kasperzak


Mike Kasperzak has served on the Mountain View City Council for five years, including a stint as Mayor.  In that role, he has worked with hometown company, Google, on citywide wifi.  Mountain View was one of the first cities to receive free Google wifi, but as he reports, that technology is now out of date.  They will continue free wifi access in downtown outdoors spaces and are offering grants for libraries and senior and recreational centers.


More recently, Google has announced that Mountain View is one of several cities under consideration for Google Fiber.  "We are learning with fiber that the concept is easy. The technology is seductive but the details are onerous, so it is a good idea to look before you leap. Don't be afraid of the future but go into it wide-eyed and ask lots of questions," he advises.  Please click here to read the full interview with Councilmember Kasperzak and learn about more about how Google is interacting with cities.

New Poll Shows Large Disparities in Home Broadband Use in California


The California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) in partnership with The Field Poll released results of a new survey examining the depth of the Digital Divide in California.


The poll found that home broadband adoption rates have stagnated, leaving the hardest-to-reach Californians without an essential tool to access the educational, employment 
and civic engagement opportunities that lead to self-sufficiency. The statewide goal is to achieve 80% home adoption by 2017, with no single demographic group or region below 70%. 
Read the full report on The California Emerging Technology Fund Call for National Policy on an Affordable Broadband Rate here.

Building Gigabit Communities


Gigabit speed is essential to economic growth, job creation and national competitiveness.  The report Gigabit Communities: Technical Strategies for Facilitating Public or Private Broadband Construction in Your Community offers multiple strategies for policy makers to consider in bringing high-speed access to their localities.  These strategies can be found in the full report.

How To Find Affordable Broadband and Digital Literacy Training in Your Community


The Digital Divide disproportionately affects low-income and minority households.  It costs the nation billions of dollars each year in lost earnings and inefficiencies, according to EveryoneOn a national nonprofit making high-speed, low-cost Internet, computers, and free digital literacy accessible to all unconnected Americans. 


EveryoneOn's website serves as a gateway to digital literacy, information on discount high-speed Internet service, computer use, and online job resources, including a zip code search tool to find free computer and Internet training classes in your community.  And, EveryoneOn partnered with leading Internet providers and device refurbishing agencies to offer low-income individuals and families $10 a month Internet service and $150 computers.
Broadband Leadership Call to Action
In This Issue
How strong is your community's broadband connection? 
Funding Opportunities


CASF Grant and Loan account First Round Deadline is

October 1, 2014


CPUC Draft Resolution T-17443 contains proposed Grant and Loan timelines and requirements.  After rules are adopted first round applications will be accepted on a quarterly basis until January, 2016.  Existing providers can declare intent to upgrade existing service by September 26, 2014.




Webinar: How to Apply for the Rural Broadband Experiments

Date: August 28th

Time: 10:00pm PST


The National Rural Assembly invites all rural stakeholders to participate in a national webinar explaining how to apply for funding from the federal Rural Broadband Experiments - a program that will fund projects to bring broadband to rural areas. Register for the webinar here.  

Does your city or county have broadband deployment and adoption policy? 
 Partner Organizations


Partner Updates 


Broadband and Economic Development


CSAC held an informative panel on Broadband and Economic Development at its annual legislative summit. 



Setting Telecom Policy


LCC is updating its Telecom Policy to include broadband related goals. 



Tools and Resources
Boost Public Engagement with Technology
Public Engagement and Technology

Resources from the Institute for Local Government (ILG):

 Call To Action 
to Close the Digital Divide  

Resources from the Local Government Roundtable: 

SB 740 & AB 1299 

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For more information about this newsletter and to submit topic suggestions, please contact: 

Jodi Mulligan

Valley Vision