On August 18, the RCRC Board of Directors authorized formation of the Golden State Connect Authority (GSCA), a joint powers authority, to advance rural broadband development. The objective of GSCA is to increase access to reliable, affordable high-speed broadband for all rural Californians.
In July 2021 Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 156, establishing a landmark $6 billion investment in broadband infrastructure, representing a significant step in bridging the digital divide. The enactment of SB 156 has introduced new opportunities to expand RCRC’s broadband efforts significantly, including explicit authority for county entities to operate broadband systems, the creation of a state-owned, open-access middle mile network, and establishment of innovative programs to fund broadband deployment in unserved and underserved areas of the state.
RCRC has initiated the formation of GSCA in order to leverage the collective efforts of rural counties to best take advantage of the opportunities to expand broadband reliability and accessibility. GSCA will assist rural counties in identifying pathways for development of broadband infrastructure within their communities, including the construction of municipal owned and/or operated broadband systems, among other options.
All RCRC member counties are eligible to join GSCA and have been notified directly by RCRC regarding the opportunity. GSCA will be governed by an elected Supervisor from each member county, and day-to-day operations will be managed by RCRC staff.
A press release regarding the action is available here and additional information is available at www.goldenstateconnect.org.