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|County of Solano – Broadband Plan|
What is Broadband?
The term broadband refers to high-speed, reliable internet access and is delivered through multiple types of connections to devices such as computers, cell phones, and tablets.
Context: The Need for Broadband in Solano County
While digital access has been a longstanding challenge that pre-dates the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of digital connectivity has never been clearer. Closing the digital divide is critical to eradicating systemic inequities and for individuals, businesses, and communities to access education, health and workforce development, among other critical resources. Despite significant efforts to extend broadband throughout Solano County, there are still unserved (areas without internet access) and underserved areas (areas with sub-optimal internet access), as well as residents that cannot afford internet access or devices. We also have a population segment that cannot fully join the digital world due to a lack of computing skills.
Our aspiration is for Solano County to become a leader in access to broadband, close the digital divide, and provide all residents, schools, and organizations with the resources they need to succeed in our digital world. We plan to address barriers to access, availability, affordability, and adoption by both expanding our physical broadband infrastructure and addressing digital equity issues within the County.
County-wide Strategic Broadband Development Plan
Solano County is developing a Strategic Broadband Development Plan that will identify funding opportunities and potential partners for project recommendations to expand broadband access and close the digital divide. The plan will enable the County to understand the complex landscape of broadband and where to direct efforts, including areas of the County that may be unserved or underserved. We are engaging numerous community entities through interviews and partnerships, identifying learnings from local efforts underway in Solano County, and researching comparable benchmarks while developing the plan. We are approaching the study with an equity-first mindset, focusing initially on areas with the greatest need.
Physical infrastructure: We are working with cities and other agencies to review current broadband plans, collect input on projects and discuss further partnership opportunities to build out broadband services in the unserved or underserved regions. Also, we are engaging internet service providers (ISPs) that serve Solano County to identify potential projects and partnerships that will meet the County’s broadband infrastructure needs.
Digital equity: We are collaborating with County leaders, local community-based organizations, and other key stakeholders to understand specific digital equity needs in Solano County and uncover potential projects to improve individuals’ and communities’ ability to participate in our increasingly digital society, democracy, and economy. We are also working together to improve digital skills training opportunities, so that County residents can learn how to use technology and get connected.
Solano Connected: A broadband and digital equity strategy and roadmap
Click here for the Solano Connected roadmap