Study Reveals Inadequate Broadband in Nearly a Third of Lassen County Homes; County Pursues Solutions


Rural Lassen County is grappling with inadequate broadband services in nearly a third of its homes, a pressing concern as remote work draws people to rural areas. The challenges hindering fiber expansion include geographic landscape, geological factors, lack of middle-mile access, and remote lifestyles. The Golden State Connect Authority, established by the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) in 2021, collaborates with the county to address this issue. An update to the Board of Supervisors highlighted a study submitted to the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, offering valuable insights for discussions with providers.

In July 2021, California allocated $6 billion for broadband infrastructure, with $2 billion designated for fiber deployment under the Federal Fund Account Last Mile Program. In August of the same year, the county secured a $500k Local Education Tech Assistance Grant for network design, marking the initial steps toward the broader goal. With the support of GSA, final designs are near completion, and the GSA is applying for a share of the $2 billion from the federal Last Mile Program for infrastructure development.

The CPUC is expected to make decisions by the end of June. If the county secures the grant, construction could commence as early as this winter or no later than spring 2025, marking a crucial step in catching up to modern broadband speeds and fostering economic development.