Monday, February 15, 2016

California telecom infrastructure deficiencies concentrated in metro central, north valley counties

The large bulk of California’s deficient access to landline advanced telecommunications infrastructure manifests in the state’s central and north valley regions, concentrated in counties designated by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as urban metro counties.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service.

The below state map produced by the Central Coast Broadband Consortium (h/t to Steve Blum of Tellus Venture Associates) shows areas designated by the California Public Utilities Commission as unserved and underserved for landline advanced telecommunications infrastructure are concentrated in and around the Central Valley municipalities of Modesto and Fresno, in the Sierra Nevada foothills east and northeast of the state capital of Sacramento in Placer and El Dorado counties, and up the Interstate 5 corridor in Sutter, Butte and Yuba counties to the Shasta County seat of Redding in far northern part of the state.

These are not sparsely populated areas as shown by the map’s legend, which indicates a large presence of census blocks with populations of 150 to 300 people per square mile (designated as orange) and more than 300 per square mile (designated as red). By definition, a portion of these census block areas is not even considered rural (population density of less than 250 per square mile) by the California Healthcare Workforce Policy Commission relative to the availability of medical services.

Source: Central Coast Broadband Consortium.
Accessed February 14, 2016
The takeaway is America’s telecommunications infrastructure deficits and disparate access cannot be necessarily be described as a “rural broadband” issue, particularly when looking at the nation’s most populous state. The operative "R" word here is these areas have been redlined for telecom infrastructure modernization as have similar areas throughout the United States.

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