Internet broadband
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SAN ARDO — Two rural areas in Monterey County are marking milestones as the County of Monterey expands essential internet services.

San Ardo in South Monterey County and parts of North Monterey County are communities that are benefitting from the County of Monterey Broadband Project. This program has provided internet service availability to about 1,009 households so far and is narrowing the digital divide in the county.

Tackling the digital divide

For too long, North County and San Ardo have grappled with limited or no internet access, hindering residents’ ability to engage in online learning, remote work and staying connected with loved ones.

Monterey County Board of Supervisors approved the allocation of more than $1.9 million for broadband expansion, and an RFP was released in September 2021, resulting in awarding contracts with Spectrum Pacific West LLC and Cruzio Internet. Led by County Chief Information Officer Eric Chatham, the project was launched to expand broadband services in regions of North County, southeast Salinas, Marina, San Ardo and San Lucas.

“The recent completion of the broadband project in San Ardo, and later this year in San Lucas, is a transformative moment for our residents,” said Supervisor Chris Lopez. “It demonstrates our commitment to ensuring equitable access to essential services for all residents, regardless of their income or location. We are grateful for the collaboration with Charter in making this vision a reality.”

This achievement represents a significant advancement, delivering essential internet services to residents. Through Charter’s Spectrum Internet Assist and Cruzio Internet’s Equal Access programs, low-income households will now have access to affordable internet services, further democratizing access to essential online resources and opportunities.

On April 22, Spectrum announced the launch of Spectrum Internet, Mobile, TV and Voice services to more than 400 homes and small businesses in San Ardo and parts of North County. Its newly constructed fiber-optic network buildout is partly offset by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) broadband grant, awarded by Monterey County.

“Spectrum is bringing gigabit broadband to unserved communities in Monterey County,” said Keri Askew-Bailey, Group Vice President of Government Affairs at Spectrum. “Our investment is making it possible to deliver the high-value broadband, mobile, TV and voice services now available in previously unserved areas, such as San Ardo.”

James Hackett of Cruzio Internet emphasized that this partnership highlights their “dedication to closing the digital gap and empowering communities” with the advantages of dependable internet access.

Next steps in broadband expansion

This multi-region project will bring internet service availability to about 1,865 households when fully completed later this year. Areas to be completed later this year include San Lucas in South Monterey County, parts of North Monterey County, southeast Salinas and Marina.

“This multi-region project represents a significant investment in the future of our communities, fostering economic development, educational opportunities, and social connectivity,” said Supervisor Glenn Church, board chair. “Internet access is essential to people’s education and job opportunities for all ages. Internet access allows us to fully engage in our communities and local government. It is a service necessary for all residents to thrive.”

The completed regions are now poised to embrace the countless opportunities that come with reliable internet connectivity, setting the stage for a brighter and more inclusive future for residents.

“Rural communities are often left behind, and I commend and support both public and private efforts that help shrink the digital divide,” said Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren. “… I am glad families and small businesses in San Ardo will be able to learn, work and connect easier thanks to the new (broadband) services now available because of the federal ARPA investment.”

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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