Sacramento - More than 60 California community leaders—including public officials, businesses, education advocates, and civil rights groups—have joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Common Sense Media to call on California Governor Gavin Newsom to convene a special legislative session to pass universal broadband access legislation this year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated California's longstanding broadband access crisis. More than 2 million Californians lack access to high-speed broadband today. As KQED recently reported, that includes some 1.2 million students across the state who lack adequate Internet access to do their work.

“Children should not be forced to do homework in fast food restaurant parking lots in the middle of a pandemic, and workers should not be forced to struggle with decades-old Internet infrastructure or literally no broadband access at all,” said Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Senior Legislative Counsel Ernesto Falcon.

The people of California need help, and the state should move forward now to begin the work needed to finally close the digital divide. Newsom himself has identified this as a pressing issue, recently signing an executive order to establish a state goal of 100 mbps download speeds for all Californians, a standard that meets the demands of today’s Internet use.

“Governor Newsom’s Executive Order sets us on the right course of connecting everyone to high-speed access. Now we need his help in pushing the legislature to deliver the money and changes needed in law to deliver on his promise,” said Falcon. “If he heeds our call to invoke a special session on broadband access, this coalition stands ready to push the legislature to follow his leadership.”

For the letter:

For more information:

Related Issues