California Wants Better Broadband

Once again California is messing with the status quo, and this time it’s going after sluggish broadband with a report issued yesterday by the California Broadband Task Force. Like its bold moves to provide paid family leave, cleaner air and safer toys, the Golden State has issued seven recommendations aimed at increasing the state’s broadband speeds and adoption rates.

Currently about 44 percent of the state’s broadband users don’t have access to speeds above 10mbps (nationwide the average speed is 9mbps, according to the report). That puts the U.S. behind 14 other developed countries including Japan, Korea and Iceland. If California achieves its goal, it would boost the nation’s average speeds and possibly prompt other states to follow its lead.

To push its agenda, the task force offers up several ideas, ranging from the issuance of broadband bonds to using state land on which collocation sites in rural areas could be built. The report also recommends reducing the paperwork, fees and time it takes to get permits to lay fiber or string cable, as well as a public-private partnership that would put a computer in the home of every child in the California school system. Not all of the ideas will happen, but California is the likeliest place to kick-start such an ambitious plan. Especially since with technology as one of its largest exports, it has a huge stake in the plan’s success.

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