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Assemblymember Valencia issues a statement on the upcoming Budget Sub 7 committee hearing regarding the progress of broadband investments

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO, CA – The Assembly’s new Budget Subcommittee on Accountability and Oversight will hold its first oversight hearing on February 28 to review whether the State’s investment in broadband infrastructure is achieving the goal of connecting all Californians to reliable high-speed internet service. The hearing is at 9 a.m. in Room 1100 of the Swing Space.

In 2021, Senate Bill 156 signed by Governor Gavin Newsom directed $3.25 billion to the California Department of Technology to build a statewide middle-mile broadband network to connect unserved communities. Another $2.75 billion went to the California Public Utilities Commission to fund service providers to deploy infrastructure to connect individual unserved locations that have no internet service or very slow service. Agency officials will testify at the hearing on their progress so far in implementing this “Broadband for All” initiative.

Chairman Avelino Valencia (D-Anaheim) issued the following statement: “As Chair of the Budget Subcommittee on Accountability and Oversight, I applaud Speaker Robert Rivas for a renewed focus on accountability to ensure California’s investments are achieving intended results. California is in year three of a historic “Broadband for All” infrastructure investment to connect all Californians to high-speed internet service. Broadband is essential to participate in today’s digital society. We cannot wait until the end to see if we got it right with SB 156. We must have ongoing, rigorous oversight to ensure that this once-in-a-generation investment of state and federal funds is on track to meet its goals – and to make course corrections if necessary.”

Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Encino), Chairman of the Budget Committee states: “California has made a once-in-a-generation investment of over $7 billion to expand broadband infrastructure to California households and communities without proper internet access. The recent pandemic highlighted the urgency and importance of expanding broadband access as our economy has become increasingly reliant on stable, high-speed internet connections. Through the work of our Budget Subcommittee No. 7 Chair Valencia and Speaker Rivas, we can ensure the state is spending this historic investment equitably and efficiently to better serve all Californians.”

Assemblymember Tasha Boerner (D-Encinitas), an appointee to the Committee gave the following statement: “As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Communications and Conveyance, I have been steadfast in demanding that the California Public Utilities Commission and Department of Technology follow through on the state’s commitment to expand broadband infrastructure to unserved and underserved communities across the state. As the delays and disappointment continue, I am proud to partner with Assemblymember Valencia to ensure that our caucus is united in sending the message that we demand more accountability of our state agencies.”

Assembly Majority Leader Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), also an appointee, states: “I was proud to team with Senate Majority Leader Gonzalez three years ago on historic legislation to require access to adequate and affordable broadband for all Californians. Governor Newsom and the Legislature followed that effort with billions in budget investments. And, the Biden Administration made the federal government a meaningful broadband partner through the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure stimulus package. But standards and budgets must be implemented with timely, equitable and enforceable plans. I applaud Chairs Valencia and Boerner for their leadership in calling this hearing to make sure our State’s broadband plans are on track to deliver on our dreams of internet access for all Californians.”