MONTEREY COUNTY — Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) has secured a $1 million California Public Utilities Commission broadband development grant to support the Central Coast Broadband Consortium (CCBC)’s efforts to expand broadband in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties.
The grant is funded by the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) Rural and Urban Regional Broadband Consortia Account, which announced $10.3 million in grants to consortia projects in California. It will be disbursed over five years and is the largest funded proposal among the 15 projects selected statewide.
MBEP, which serves as executive director for the broadband development organization, was the lead author on the grant acquisition.
“Access to adequate and affordable broadband service continues to be an issue of equity and economic development for our region,” said MBEP President and CEO Tahra Goraya. “Broadband must be recognized as an essential utility. We are proud to partner with CCBC to advance the broadband goals of our region.”
The City of Watsonville will serve as the fiscal agent for the CASF grant.
“The Central Coast believes, and is proving, that the solutions we seek for our communities are best addressed regionally,” said Monterey County Supervisor Chris Lopez. “Working together we will improve access to broadband and with that the lives and outcomes for our friends and neighbors. We are grateful for the award, which will accelerate our joint efforts.”
CCBC is a broadband development organization with a more than 20-year history in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties. Its representation is composed of local city and county agencies, educational institutions, industry, and economic development interests, and community-based organizations.