Public BenefitAccess to internet impacts the community in many ways — equity, economic recovery and resilience, workforce development, and economic development.
More than ever, COVID-19 illuminated the digital deficit across rural California. As homes became offices and schools, many were unable to “connect” and keep up without proper internet access. Employees lost jobs or had to spend hundreds of dollars a month to access sub-standard internet service.
With increased internet access, greater opportunity is provided to communities, including local businesses and students. Even healthcare delivery and public health outcomes, via internet-supported telehealth opportunities, can become more widely available in rural California with increased internet connectivity.
Overall, equitable access to reliable high-speed internet is imperative to bridging the digital divide and helping to improve quality of life in rural communities.
Economic Recovery & Resilience
Broadband is an essential part of business today. Whether a community has large businesses or is comprised of many small business -broadband is a necessary requirement for management, production, and connectivity to the global marketplace. Many businesses consider broadband a vital component of infrastructure, without which they will not locate or expand operations, thus limiting opportunities for economic development.
Public health and safety are also greatly enhanced with broadband. Connectivity is crucial in disaster response efforts, ensuring reliable communications and alert systems in the event of fires, floods, or other community-wide disaster response.
Economic DevelopmentStrong internet service in rural California has the potential to significantly bolster economic development in a variety of ways. The ability to employ advanced technologies via access to robust, reliable broadband is a “must have” in today’s business environment. Additionally, connectivity provides access to the global marketplace which can also lead to expansion of new industries.
Sustainable DevelopmentImproved connectivity could dramatically affect sustainable development across rural California. Efficiencies in energy usage in private and public buildings would be maximized through the utilization of Climate Smart technologies. Remote work and distance learning afforded by broadband could reduce car emissions with fewer trips. Even improved precision farming technologies would greatly impact the efficient use of natural resources.
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