Today, Governor Schwarzenegger signed an Executve Order designed to promote the best use and expansion of broadband telecommunications throughout the state of California. From the press release the Governor says:
If we want to stay No. 1 in technology, we need action. In countries like Japan and South Korea, the people have access to great technologies at lower costs than anywhere in America. We can do that. Michigan has one of the largest wireless broadband networks in the country. We can do that. Thatâ€™s why Iâ€™m signing an executive order to help make California a leader in the telecommunications revolution.
Here are some highlights from the document listed in the press release:
- Establishing a broadband task force to recommend additional steps the Governor can take to promote broadband access and usage.
- Designating one agencyâ€”Business, Transportation & Housing (BT&H)â€”as lead coordinator for implementing the stateâ€™s broadband policy, to help ensure cohesion, speed and efficiency.
- Directing BT&H to create a database linking private broadband companies with state transportation agencies, permitting companies to better coordinate fiber optic installation, leading to more consumer choice and efficient pricing.
- Establishing a pricing policy for private companies paying for â€œrights-of- wayâ€ access to state roads. Previously, charges to lay fiber varied widelyâ€”the order sets pricing based on actual costs incurred by the State.
- Calling for streamlined, expedited rights-of-way permitting procedures to accelerate broadband deployment.
- Directing BT&H to collect and analyze current broadband information so the state can accurately map existing resources.
- Directing the Department of General Services to make wireless Internet access available in State buildings and increase video streaming to deliver public meetings, training materials and other state resources online.
- Directing state agencies to enable Voiceover Internet Protocol technologies for business and government use, and include broadband conduit in their infrastructure planning.
In general, this all sound really good. It’s a vision. But it’s also got some action items in it with some pretty tight deadlines. Finally, there will be an entity to which we can address our regional concerns over telecommunications issues. All the more reason for us to get our own act together building our own regional and local telecom committees. These committees would then have a more powerful voice at the state level.
It’s interesting that this announcement comes the day after RTC and HSU hosted a teleconference with Joaquin Alvarado of Next Generation Internet (see blog post on Broadband Forum 2) at which these very issues were discussed. Unfortuantely, the event was rather sparsely attended. Why were there no County Supervisors at the event (or prospective supervisors)? Why was no one there from a single city council (there was one staff person from the City of Eureka)? Why were none of the multitude of economic development people there or members of the Headwaters Fund board? I know the publicity wasn’t all that great. But if they were really connected to the community they serve they would have known and should have been there.