Santa Cruz Tech Ecosystem
Broadband: What exactly is the Board of Supervisors considering to adopt?
by Zach Friend
Santa Cruz County Supervisor
Broadband Improvements Coming to County
On the January 28, 2014 agenda the Board of Supervisors will consider significant changes to local broadband policy that, if adopted, will begin the process of expanding coverage and capacity for high-speed Internet access in our county. Last year I brought forward a set of broadband expansion guidelines to the Board with the ultimate goal of ensuring that local businesses and residents have access to competitive high-speed Internet access in ways not seen in our county. Many home-based businesses, tech entrepreneurs and even medical providers and schools are at a competitive disadvantage because of high-cost and low-speed Internet access.
What exactly is the Board considering to adopt? Here are the key elements:
- Create a master lease agreement allowing for the placement of broadband infrastructure on County assets
- Adopt a new ordinance that more easily allows for the installation or upgrades of broadband infrastructure in the County rights-of-way
- Finalize conduit specifications for placement of conduit during construction projects (dig once)
- Establish a broadband master plan to target sections of the county (such as economic vitality areas) for additional broadband infrastructure
The entire set of policies being considered can be viewed here.
Our office has been working with representatives of other jurisdictions in the county to attempt to standardize these policies throughout the region. In addition, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, as well as the state Public Utilities Commission, are interested in using Santa Cruz County’s policy as a statewide model.
There is no question that high-capacity Internet is one of the most effective tools communities have at spurring economic development. The economy of the 21st century is built upon data and information, and a large barrier to economic growth for local governments like Santa Cruz County is the fact that our data infrastructure is outdated. For a region that rests in the shadow of Silicon Valley, and from which 30,000 people commute (many for technology-based jobs), it is important that we provide the resources necessary to compete. Affording such local connectivity could have positive impacts on traffic and highway usage and the tax base. Now we just need to make sure these policies are adopted.
Your involvement helps assure that policies like this are adopted. You can comment here or call to express your thoughts on the item at 831-454-2200.
Sara Isenberg curates and publishes Santa Cruz Tech Beat for the benefit of the extended business and technology community. When she is not volunteering her time for the tech scene, Sara makes her living by managing software projects, web strategy planning, and providing development team services (including account management, vendor management, strategic partner management, beta project management, referrals to qualified technical team members, and more). Please visit her website: Sara Isenberg Web Consulting & Project Management, or contact Sara by email if you have any project management, account management, or Development Team leadership or service needs.