Moving California Forward, Together

Marc Blakeman, President, AT&T California and Pacific States
July 2, 2024
Broadband Access and Affordability

Moving California Forward, Together

Last month, I shared Assemblymember Tina McKinnor (D-Inglewood) had introduced a new proposal (AB 2797) to modernize regulations and introduce provisions to protect California’s vulnerable communities while maintaining the state’s leadership in innovation.

The proposed changes to the original plan submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) were made with the aim of prioritizing customer needs. Considering input from stakeholders, we collaborated with the author to incorporate additional consumer protections. We are extremely appreciative of the broad support for the resulting legislation represented by more than 180 organizations from across the state.

However, following further discussions with state leaders and Assemblymember McKinnor, it has become evident more time is needed to ensure the details of the policy are in the best interest of our customers and California. Additionally, with the release of CPUC Federal Funding Account (FFA) funding to grant awardees for expanding broadband in California, we must consider these developments in our efforts to update and modernize the state’s communications network.

We will continue working with state leaders to get this policy right. Acknowledging the significance of broadband funding to all California’s communities, it is imperative for the legislature to take the lead on this policy issue. We commend Assemblymember McKinnor for her efforts in this regard. While a vast majority of households have already transitioned, it is crucial to consider the 5% who have not and work towards their transition to achieve digital equity in California.

We are dedicated to being part of the solution by expanding our California networks and offering more reliable and affordable options. In support of the state’s broadband efforts, we have submitted 250 grant proposals to the Commission to expand broadband service to over 1 million customer locations across nearly 50 counties in California. Last week, there was positive news that the California Public Utilities Commission is recommending approval of one of these proposals, potentially providing internet access to 46,437 people who currently lack it.

We remain committed to collaborating with state lawmakers and stakeholders to ensure that customers remain connected and California’s communications network is modernized.

p.after-p sub span { line-height: 20px !important; }