Friday, January 04, 2008

California communities lacking basic phone service underscore Golden State digital divide

This Sacramento Bee story about a small Northern California enclave not far from the state capitol of Sacramento finally getting telephone service sheds some light on why advanced telecommunications services based on broadband Internet access are lagging in the Golden State. After all, if some communities in a state that prides itself on its technological leadership are only now getting plain old telephone service (POTS) nine years into the 21st century, it's a safe bet that there are plenty of others with phone service that lack the necessary infrastructure to provide high speed Internet access.

The Bee story notes a "surprisingly long list of far-flung California communities still lacking telephone service: Lost Hills in Fresno County, Pine Mountain in Kern County and Siskiyou County's Eddy Gulch, Godfrey Ranch and Swillup Creek, to name a few."

Last fall, the Federal Communications Commission reported that nearly 20 percent of California telco customers weren't offered DSL service as of the end of 2006. (See Table 14)

In July, a Public Policy Institute of California concluded California is riddled with broadband black holes due to lack of access to broadband services, finding only about 30 percent of Northern Californians can get them.

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