SACRAMENTO, CA – Golden State Connect Authority (GSCA) has partnered with Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA) Fiber to help develop and operate reliable, affordable high-speed Internet infrastructure in rural California. This partnership will strengthen GSCA’s efforts to bridge the internet access gap between the 38 rural member states through the roll-out of a municipal broadband fiber network with open access.
GSCA is currently identifying project sites in rural California for broadband fiber network installation, starting with selected initial sites and then expanding into additional project areas. These projects will use an open access municipal broadband model, where multiple Internet service providers use the same government high-speed network to deliver a range of services to homes and businesses. This creates more competition between Internet service providers and greater certainty of affordability for consumers.
To ensure the successful and efficient development and operation of such networks, GSCA has chosen to partner with an organization experienced in managing open access broadband infrastructure. For this reason, GSCA turned to 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.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) initiating the partnership was approved by the GSCA Board of Directors on March 25 and the UTOPIA Fiber Board on April 11. The MOU considers that UTOPIA Fiber will provide administrative services for GSCA’s proposed broadband networks, drawing on their extensive experience building and operating similar Open-Access, municipal networks in other locations in the country.
“UTOPIA Fiber has proven to be an industry leader with proven expertise in establishing and operating an Open Access network that invites Internet service providers to compete for customers, resulting in price and speed choices for consumers,” said GSCA Board Chair and Calaveras County Supervisor Jack Garamendi. “GSCA looks forward to building on UTOPIA Fiber’s knowledge and experience and working together to improve Internet access in rural California.”
“The economic and social benefits of connecting communities to high-speed broadband are significant and UTOPIA Fiber is excited to partner with GSCA to provide much-needed service to California’s rural communities,” said Roger Timmerman, executive director of UTOPIA Fiber. “This partnership will help change the lives of millions of Californians and provide modern connectivity for residents and businesses who can fully participate in the digital economy and enjoy a higher quality of life. High-speed broadband not only enables remote working, learning and telecare, it also provides the infrastructure needed for better wireless coverage and advanced precision farming – and that’s just the beginning. We are very excited about what is to come,” he added.
UTOPIA Fiber is a long-distance agency owned by 11 Utah cities that merged in 2002 to build, deploy, and operate a fiber optic network for every business and household in their community. Since 2009, UTOPIA Fiber and its affiliate Utah Infrastructure Agency have designed, built and operated nearly $400 million in Open-Access fiber projects in 19 Utah cities at no cost to taxpayers. The agency also has operational partnerships in Idaho and Montana to expand high-speed broadband access in parts of those states.
For more information, resources and updates about GSCA, visit www.goldenstateconnect.org. Information about UTOPIA Fiber, including areas of operation and services provided, is available at www.utopiafiber.com.
ABOUT GOLDEN STATE CONNECT AUTHORITY
Golden State Connect Authority (GSCA) is a joint-powered authority made up of 38 rural California counties designed with the goal of increasing access to reliable, affordable broadband Internet for the residents and businesses of those counties. GSCA will help rural counties identify avenues for Internet infrastructure development within their communities, including building community owned and/or managed Internet systems, among other options. Learn about GSCA at www.goldenstateconnect.org.