The County’s Role & Actions
The County has played a role in promoting increased local broadband coverage since the year 2000. We have actively supported the Nevada County Economic Resource Council's telecommunication committee and later renamed Broadband Leadership Council through its existence.
- This group performed many early e-commerce training sessions for local businesses
- Performed demand surveys
- Partnered with local providers to identify and communicate areas of need
- Supported local ISPs in their applications for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants to build broadband infrastructure projects
Advisory Group Composition
The County currently is a member of the Gold Country Broadband Consortium . The County regularly advocates for expanded broadband, working with local:
- Economic Development Agencies
- Educational Institutions
- Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
- Neighborhood Associations
- Representative Stakeholders From Government
April 27th, 2021: The Board of Supervisors’ award today of $500,000 to four local internet service providers (ISP), broadband service will be offered to 440 households to support distance learning, remote working, and tele-medicine. Each of the four projects offers a unique and innovative approach to expanding broadband in areas challenged by both remote geography and low population density. The County’s $500,000 in grants leverages $3,855,000 in broadband infrastructure, a significant public-private investment.
December 15th, 2020: The Board of Supervisors approved Public Works' new Road Standards that were updated to support an open trench "Dig Once" policy. This policy maximizes the potential for broadband to be included in any open trench construction activity taking place in unincorporated county.
September 22nd, 2020: The Board of Supervisors awarded $1,000,000 in CARES Act funding to Race Communications. The funds were used to accelerate the construction of 800 fiber to the home connections that were then built by December 31, 2020. These are connections that would otherwise not have been constructed for over a year. In addition, Race committed to build 130 additional unplanned connections in a new unserved project area in 2021.
April 28th, 2020: Today the Board of Supervisors awarded two of the three Broadband Grant applications for FY2019/20 to Exwire, Inc. and Nevada County Fiber in the amount of $52,900 and $124,209, respectively.
February 25, 2020: Today SBC presented to the Nevada County Board of Supervisors its recommendation awarding two of the three Broadband Grant applications for FY2019/20 to Exwire, Inc. and Nevada County Fiber in the amount of $52,900 and $124,209, respectively. Subsequently the Board of Supervisors accepted SBC’s presentation and directed staff to develop Grant Agreements with Exwire, Inc. and Nevada County Fiber in the maximum amount of $52,900 and $124,209, respectively.
October 22nd, 2019: Today the Board of Supervisors approved the Nevada County Broadband Strategy Plan. This plan was created by the Sierra Business Council and outlines various strategies for how broadband can be improved and expanded across the County.
July 23rd, 2019: Today the Board of Supervisors approved a last-mile broadband expansion pilot grant program. This program is funded from County economic development funds. Details can be found in a press release here:
"I like the project because I think number one it addresses the Board Priority on economic development and broadband, but number two, and most importantly, it addresses the community's expectation to leverage TOT dollars to bring broadband to the community," said District III Supervisor Dan Miller."
"Thank you,” District I Supervisor Heidi Hall said to staff after the presentation. “I am so excited we are working to resolve this without waiting for the State or Federal Government to make progress… Let's get connected!"
January 10th, 2019: Today, the California Public Utilities Commission (Commission) voted to approve the purchase of Bright Fiber Network, Inc. (Bright Fiber) by Race Telecommunications, Inc. (Race), giving the green light to a $26.8 million dollar fiber-to-the-home build, servicing 1,941 households in western Nevada County. The project was approved with a unanimous 4-0 vote.
Race Communications, Spiral, and County team at CPUC meeting, San Francisco
The original Commission California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) grant for the project was awarded to Bright Fiber in December 2015 but was delayed by other federal grant developments and Bright Fiber’s search for financing for required matching funds. In June 2018, Race announced its planned acquisition of Bright Fiber, which it will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Race to complete and manage the project. A successful Internet Service Provider that has received ten and completed nine Commission rural broadband projects in the state, Race will provide all necessary financing and bring deep technical and managerial expertise to the Bright Fiber project.
RegulationBroadband service providers are regulated at the Federal and State levels, thus the County Board of Supervisor’s (BOS) has no authority on how and where they provide services in our community. We have no ability to require a provider to build out services in any particular area.
Planning & CommunicationThe BOS has passed planning codes to assist providers to more easily install antennas, and past a broad based official resolution (PDF) supporting broadband service expansion and directing county departments to reevaluate their processes and requirements to assist this effort. Individual Board members and the County’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) regularly communicates and meets with providers to share citizen concerns and identify areas of need. The County CIO also participated on Governor Schwarzenegger’s Broadband Task Force economic development committee.
Plan Land UseThe BOS added language into their General Plan Land Use element update to support Broadband development across the county.
Policies & Programs
Encourage and support a sustainable and technologically current high-speed broadband transmission system that reliably connects Nevada County businesses and residences to national networks as a means to reduce transportation impacts, improve air quality, enhance citizens’ quality of life, and promote economic development.
The County will develop site standards requiring new residential and commercial development projects to include the broadband infrastructure components and adequate bandwidth speeds necessary to support technologically current communication technologies.