Santa Clara County Plans To Create Internet Service Provider To Bridge Digital Divide

The Santa Clara County Supervisory Board is set to consider starting its own internet service provider in response to what some supervisors have said is the deep digital divide that leaves underserved residents of the county without access.

County supervisors Cindy Chavez and Susan Ellenberg are proposing to launch a city-owned Internet service provider that would aim to provide “affordable and reliable broadband service” to communities in eastern San Jose and southern Santa Clara County, areas that supervisors consider to be under-served or entirely un-served.

In the Bay Area and California, the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the long-standing digital divide, such as access to reliable internet and technology, among students, families and businesses in rural and rural communities. low income.

“Today, more than 73,000 residents and businesses in Santa Clara County do not have Internet access at the speeds necessary for reliable Zoom calls, virtual classrooms, telehealth appointments, or many other functions. online, “according to a statement from Chavez’s office on Friday.

Chavez and Ellenberg suggest the county create its own service provider or partner with other local governments. County officials should consider making the internet service provider available to more than 680,000 residents and small businesses who would only have high-speed internet access through a single provider, officials said.

County supervisors are expected to hold a press conference outside San Antonio Elementary School on Monday, where local health officials, county school board officials, school and school district officials are expected to speak of the proposal.

The proposal will be considered at the supervisory board meeting on Tuesday.

Lauren Hernández is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @ByLHernandez

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