Who We AreGolden State Connect is a joint powers authority comprised of 39 rural California counties designed for the purpose of increasing access to reliable, affordable high-speed internet for the residents and businesses of those counties.
Simply put, our goal is access to Quality Internet for Rural California.
Governance of Golden State Connect is conducted by elected Supervisors from member counties.
Through the collective efforts of its members, Golden State Connect will pursue initiatives to:
Expand internet in rural counties through the pursuit of technical assistance and funding for member counties.
Install and operate open-access, municipal internet infrastructure starting with select initial locations and then expanding to additional sites.
The Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC), a 39-member county service organization representing rural counties, initiated the formation of Golden State Connect. Golden State Connect is governed by an elected Supervisor from each member county, and day-to-day operations are managed by RCRC staff.
In recent years, RCRC has increased its advocacy efforts in promoting policies that close the digital divide and bring reliable, high-speed internet access to rural areas of the state.
In July 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 156, establishing a landmark $6 billion investment in internet infrastructure, representing a significant step in bridging the digital divide. The enactment of Senate Bill 156 has introduced new opportunities to expand RCRC’s efforts significantly, including explicit authority for county entities to operate internet systems, the creation of a state-owned, open-access middle mile network and establishment of innovative programs to fund internet deployment in unserved and underserved areas of the state.
To best take advantage of these opportunities, RCRC initiated the formation of Golden State Connect to leverage collective efforts on behalf of rural counties in the provision of technical assistance in areas related to broadband and the establishment of internet infrastructure in under-connected areas.
The intention is that Golden State Connect will assist rural counties in identifying pathways for development of internet infrastructure within their communities, including the construction of municipal-owned and/or operated internet systems, among other options.
Golden State Connect will achieve this objective in three phases as follows:
Ensure all member counties have strategic plans for internet.
RCRC, through its affiliated agency Golden State Finance Authority, is serving as the collective applicant on a U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) technical assistance grant that, if approved for funding, will result in internet strategic plans for the 27 rural counties that do not have one.
Equip rural counties with information and resources about innovative models and approaches to internet deployment.
Golden State Connect will conduct workshops and develop resources for the benefit of member rural counties to feature innovative models and approaches for delivery of reliable, affordable, high-speed internet; to showcase successful municipal internet projects from across the U.S.; and to inform local decision-making.
Implement open-access municipal internet demonstration projects.
Golden State Connect will identify and pursue appropriate projects to install internet fiber utilizing an open-access, public-benefit, municipal model beginning with select initial locations and then expanding to additional project areas.
CHAIR: Supervisor Jack Garamendi, Calaveras County
VICE CHAIR: Supervisor David Griffith, Alpine County
Golden State Connect Executive Committee Members
- Supervisor Dan Miller, Nevada County
- Supervisor Doug Teeter, Butte County
- Supervisor Chris Lopez, Monterey County
- Supervisor Stacy Corless, Mono County
- Supervisor Rex Bohn, Humboldt County
- Supervisor Aaron Albaugh, Lassen County
- Supervisor Denise Carter, Colusa County
- Supervisor Miles Menetrey, Mariposa County
- Supervisor Daron McDaniel, Merced County