Sacramento, California—On Tuesday, May 26, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will ask California senators to approve a measure that will transition the state’s outdated communications network to fiber, bringing affordable high-speed broadband service, essential during the pandemic and beyond, to all residents.

EFF Senior Legislative Counsel Ernesto Falcon will testify Tuesday afternoon at a California Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee hearing, where lawmakers will consider SB 1130. Co-sponsored by EFF, the bill will raise minimum standards for telecommunications companies providing broadband service to communities, requiring that any broadband network funded by the state must be high-capacity fiber and open access.

The COVID-19 outbreak has made it clear that high-speed access to broadband is indispensable, and the more than one million Californians without it are facing serious ongoing harm and risks. Because of the state’s failure to act, far too many people are forced to rely on a 1990s-era DSL line in their community or, worse, have no Internet access at all. This disproportionally affects residents with limited income and those living outside major cities, who have struggled to access distance learning for their children and work from home, even as both have become necessities.

Falcon will testify that SB 1130 will fix this dynamic by raising minimum standards for broadband service, ensuring that the state invests in high-capacity networks that are future-proofed, and embracing open-access principles that will provide Californians with more choice in service providers. The hearing will be will be livestreamed for the public on the California Senate website.

EFF Senior Legislative Counsel Ernesto Falcon

California Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee hearing

Tuesday, May 26 (Hearing will begin after 1:30 pm session ends)


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