Last year, CSDA sponsored Senate Bill 1191 (Alquist), which authorizes community services districts (CSDs) to provide broadband Internet services to its community if there is no provider available in that area. This bill went into effect on January 1, 2009.

The federal stimulus plan included some funds for broadband. Specifically there is $4.7 billion nationally for broadband, which the National Telecommunications and Information Administration will be allocating based on guidelines that have yet to be established.

In California, the Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) will serve to distribute California’s share of funds to those projects that meet the federal guidelines.

CSDA’s legislative department met with the chief of staff to the CIO and discussed what CSDs need to do to access the federal funds for broadband. Guidelines are currently being developed and hopefully by the end of the week the CIO will have some basic guidelines in place to start collecting information on projects in California that qualify under those guidelines.

What you need to do if your CSD is interested in providing broadband Internet service to your community:

Contact Legislative Analyst Iris Herrera at immediately for more details. In less than two weeks the office of the CIO will be collecting project proposals. CSDA’s legislative department will compile CSDs’ project proposals and submit them to the office of the CIO for consideration. The legislative department will also continue advocacy efforts to ensure that CSD projects that meet the requirements receive fair consideration for federal funding.