Collage of three images from Tuolumne County's Broadband For All Workshop. Left is form to rank what is important, two photos on right show the audience and speakers.

Broadband for Tuolumne County

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May 30, 2023

I attended the Broadband for All Workshop at the Tuolumne Resiliency Center today. They packed a lot into a fast five hours!

First, this was the first time I was inside the Resiliency Center, and it didn’t disappoint. The food was delicious, meeting space comfortable, and the AV was amazing. What you can’t see from the photos is the large monitors and screens all around the room.

On the to Workshop!


What is Broadband For All?

One out of five Californians lacks access to affordable, reliable broadband service, devices, and the skills to use them. Broadband for All is our state’s overarching program to close the digital divide and foster digital equity in our communities.

This Workshop is one of 20 across the State to share information, prioritize needs, and gather feedback.

Tuolumne County residents face many challenges accessing the internet

  • Areas do not have access to broadband at all
  • Cell service doesn’t reach everywhere either
  • Cost for satellite and “regular” internet is expensive
  • We have a large elderly population that do not know how to use the internet
  • Many lack devices to easily access the services they need

Covid really highlighted the divide in access and knowledge.

It’s easy for people in urban areas to say “schools will just go remote”. While that was a wise decision, many kids lacked both devices and quality internet access at home. Even families that had a home computer struggled when suddenly parents needed it to work from home, and kids of different ages needed it for homework and classes. Some of us struggled to teach family members how to Zoom, how to turn on their mics, and even basic etiquette that those more experienced with video chats took for granted. With more and more services going to online only, it’s critical that all members of our community have affordable, fast internet to do basic tasks – such as job applications, working from home, banking, communication, tele-medicine. Perhaps most important is the ability to stay connected with friends and family while living in a rural area.

Broadband For All is broken up into several approaches that address both connectivity and affordability.

Connectivity is covered by the Middle-Mile and then the Last-Mile programs. The first is making sure high speed and high capacity service comes to each area of the State. The Last-Mile connects the Middle-Mile to communities including Tribal lands. It also provides local governments more oversight into how the final connections are made. What was most interesting to me is that the installation of the Middle-Mile will be done in conjunction with the Department of Transportation (DoT) with the fiber lines buried on either side of the State highways and freeways. Other programs will address affordability and education.

There’s a lot of information available, visit Broadband for All’s website for more detail.

There’s obviously a lot of work to be done yet, but it will be setting California up for a brighter and more connected future for all.

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A web designer for over 8 years, I enjoy learning new ways to help my clients connect with their customers and grow their business. I'm Mailchimp and Google Certified, as well as a StoryBrand Guide. I love circles, coffee, and living in the mountains.


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