New high-speed internet headed to county

FCC OKs aid to rural California counties

High-speed internet is on its way to sections of San Benito County that currently cannot access fast broadband connections.

The Federal Communications Commission announced July 18 that it had awarded nearly $83 million in funding for new rural broadband services in California.

All of the first round of funding in California was awarded to GeoLinks, a Southern California company, which is given 10 years to provide high-speed internet connections of at least 100 Mbps in nearly 11,000 locations, following a competitive auction. The California list includes $1,504,536 to assist in the development of high-speed internet services in the Hollister area, according to the FCC.

The goal is to provide broadband services to “unserved rural California homes and businesses, stemming from last year’s successful Connect America Fund Phase II auction,” the FCC said in a statement. Providers are to begin receiving funding this month.

Nationwide, the auction last fall allocated $1.488 billion in support to expand broadband to more than 700,000 unserved rural homes and small businesses over the next 10 years. The FCC has already authorized two waves of funding in May and June, and funds from those first two waves are expanding connectivity to nearly 100,000 homes and businesses that lack service.

The July 18 action, which provides funding in 23 states, brings total authorized funding to nearly $803 million, or over half of the $1.488 billion allocated through the auction, expanding connectivity to 305,518 homes and businesses.

In the coming months, the FCC will be authorizing additional funding as it approves remaining applications of the winning bidders from the auction.

“High-speed Internet provides access to opportunity in the 21st century, and the FCC’s top priority is closing the digital divide so that all Americans can fully participate in our connected society,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “Today’s authorization of funding is the largest yet from the auction, nearly double the amount authorized in the first two rounds nationwide, and serving over twice as many rural homes and businesses. I am pleased that the commission is moving quickly to authorize these funds to close the digital divide in rural California.”

GeoLinks provides internet services from California Internet, the state’s fastest-growing internet service provider. A stated goal of the company is to “help bridge the digital divide for rural schools and libraries, this is an important milestone.” 

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