Broadband in the boondocks

New law makes it easier for rural communities to set up broadband service

Rural Californians will have greater access to broadband services, thanks to a bill Gov. Schwarzenegger signed on July 8.

The bill, SB 1191 by Sen. Elaine Alquist (D-San Jose), will enable residents of areas not served by private broadband service to obtain and pay for it by using community service districts. Nearly 1.5 million mostly rural Californians, including most North State residents outside urban areas, do not have access to broadband service.

“This legislation will help connect California’s cities to each other and to the world by growing our digital highway,” Schwarzenegger said at the signing.

There are hundreds of publicly managed community service districts in the North State, providing everything from water, lighting and sewer service to police protection.