by Photo courtesy of Gov. Gavin Newsom's Office

California began construction on Thursday near Poway for a 10,000-mile-long broadband network to bring high-speed internet access for all. 

The construction near State Route 67 began the installation of 500 feet of fiber optic cable for the first segment of a massive, $3.6 billion statewide project known as the “Middle Mile” broadband network. The project came on the heels of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s $6.5 billion investment to expand broadband infrastructure and enhance internet access for unserved and underserved communities. 

“California is now one step closer to making the digital divide a thing of the past,” said Governor Newsom. “We’re starting construction today to get affordable high-speed internet in every California home because livelihoods depend on equitable access to a reliable and fast internet connection. This is about ensuring that all Californians, no matter the zip code they call home, can be part of the Golden State’s thriving and diverse economy.”

According to Newsom’s office, the planned network, which will be the nation’s largest, will cover the entire state to help bring reliable, high-speed internet access to millions of Californians. 

It is estimated that one in five Californians do not have access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet, including more than 200,000 San Diegans. Once the project is complete, funding for “last mile” efforts will support internet connections from “middle mile” lines to homes and businesses, as well as efforts to ensure individuals can afford broadband service where it already exists.

"Beginning construction on the middle-mile network is a significant step toward broadband equity and provide all Californians the opportunity to access critical information'' said the Secretary of the California Transportation Agency Toks Omishakin. "High-speed internet is much more than a connection—it's a lifeline that families need to work, learn, and access critical Services.''

Once the network is complete, local carriers will have access to the network to provide communities with direct service to homes and businesses, as well as reduced-cost or free broadband internet service for those who are eligible.

Californians interested in seeing if they qualify for discounted high-speed internet services available now may learn more at the state’s Broadband for All website here.

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