SALINAS VALLEY — South Salinas Valley Broadband Authority approved a memorandum of understanding with Golden State Connect Authority (GSCA) on Aug. 18 to facilitate installation of reliable and affordable high-speed internet infrastructure in South Monterey County.
Salinas Valley is one of several initial project locations that GSCA is exploring across its 39 rural member counties for the deployment of an open-access, municipal broadband fiber network.
“Expanding access to reliable, high-speed internet is critical for establishing equal opportunities for education, economic growth, healthcare and more,” said Monterey County Supervisor Chris Lopez, chair of the South Salinas Valley Broadband Authority. “This partnership between GSCA and the South Salinas Valley Broadband Authority will be instrumental in advancing our efforts to connect the underserved residents and businesses of the Salinas Valley and to reduce the digital divide within our communities.”
South Salinas Valley Broadband Authority was formed through the signing of a joint powers agreement among the cities of King City, Greenfield, Soledad and Gonzales and the County of Monterey in May 2022. GSCA will work alongside the Authority to design, fund and develop an open-access, municipal broadband model that will bring affordable, high-speed internet to Salinas Valley.
Under this model, multiple internet service providers use the same publicly owned high-speed network to provide a range of services to homes and businesses. This enables increased competition among internet service providers and greater assurance of affordability for consumers.
“On behalf of GSCA, I want to thank the South Salinas Valley Broadband Authority for their interest in partnering with GSCA to establish high-speed internet for their community,” said GSCA Board Chair and Calaveras County Supervisor Jack Garamendi. “We look forward to working together to deploy an innovative, municipal internet service model in the Salinas Valley and improving access to this increasingly vital resource.”
Salinas Valley was identified as an initial proposed project location, along with other potential sites, through a detailed process evaluating several factors, including the level of service need, estimated costs and opportunities for partnership with local government and other agencies. GSCA’s intent is to begin with a select number of initial locations and then expand to additional project areas within rural California.
To ensure successful and efficient development and operation of such networks, GSCA intends to partner with UTOPIA Fiber, an industry leader in open access, municipal broadband and the operator of the largest open-access, municipal fiber network in the United States. UTOPIA Fiber will provide operational services for GSCA’s proposed broadband networks, utilizing its vast experience building and operating similar open-access, municipal networks in other locations in the nation.
GSCA will now begin network planning and financing efforts in coordination with the South Salinas Valley Broadband Authority, targeting underserved residents and businesses. Additional details will be provided to the community as efforts progress.
For more information, resources and updates about GSCA, visit goldenstateconnect.org.