Initiative Short Definition
Explore options and new opportunities to advocate for improved and expanded internet access throughout Placer County’s rural communities.
Rural Broadband Advocacy
Now more than ever, the lack of reliable and powerful internet for some of our communities is an acute issue for our county residents. The COVID-19 emergency shifted many households to in-home learning and work-from-home setups that have been extremely challenging to navigate where internet is poor or lacking completely.
In the fall of 2020, the IT Department issued a community broadband survey to determine the current state of internet service across the county and the level of satisfaction with current providers. The survey revealed that many residents are dissatisfied with their current internet options and over 20% of survey respondents had poor quality or no internet availability at their residence.
To assist with this effort the IT Department plans to explore new opportunities and creative options to support the growth and expansion of Internet Service Provider (ISP) buildout within the community. We will carefully monitor and engage grant opportunities that become available at the federal and state level for broadband programs. The IT Department will pursue multiple solution channels simultaneously to provide as many options as possible to as many residents as possible on an expedited timeline.
5G is evolving wireless and cellular technology that operates at high bandwidth within close range of signal source. Currently, there are limitations to consumer availability for this service type. New service options will continue to become available as cellular companies add capacity for this type of service.
Satellite technologies are rapidly improving and may offer the best solution for coverage of the county’s most rural areas. Because there is no need to run cable or to set up localized signal boosters, these technologies can support locations where the established infrastructure is limited. The IT Department will continue to monitor these technologies to determine whether the County can create program support to facilitate their expansion in our region.
Wireless providers provide line of sight service in underserved areas today. This is another option that may assist the most remote customers in the county. There are several providers currently expanding service options for this channel.
Expanding Fiber and Cable Infrastructure
Traditional fiber and cable are reliable and consistent but require significant investment to expand the network required for this type of internet service.