Is your internet connection up to date? Investigating counties want to know | Local news

Published on December 5, 2022
| 17:27

Residents of Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties are asked to test their Internet speed. The results of a broadband needs assessment survey and speed test will help identify opportunities to improve Internet speed, access and costs.

The Broadband Consortium of the Pacific Coast (BCPC) has launched a three-county Internet needs assessment survey and speed test campaign to allow the public to self-report their Internet speed and experience at home, work or wherever they connect.

The campaign is part of an effort funded by the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) to develop a regional approach to identify broadband infrastructure gaps and areas of need, accelerate broadband deployment, and catalyze a local response to digital equity issues.

Data from the survey and speed test campaign will be mapped by GEO Partners, LLC., a geospatial engineering firm, and used to identify areas of the county with little or no access to high-speed Internet. Within this test, people can also identify areas with low or no service or where Internet access is inaccessible.

The needs assessment survey for Santa Barbara County was completed in June 2022 as a component of the Santa Barbara County Broadband Strategic Plan. Santa Barbara County residents are being asked to submit speed tests to continue crowdsourcing data for regional planning.

In December 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed landmark legislation, Broadband for All, to further the state’s commitment to bring affordable access to high-speed Internet service throughout California.

Information gathered through the tri-county survey and speed test will be used to seek funding to improve affordable access to high-performance internet across the region to enhance digital inclusion. Speed ‚Äč‚Äčtest data collection is critical to accomplishing the following:

Design broadband infrastructure that interconnects communities and households through middle-mile networks and local last-mile priorities to increase capacity, redundancy and resilience for disaster preparedness and to encourage industry competition.

Promote digital inclusion work efforts that improve access to affordable broadband and provide the tools and training needed to connect residents to the social, economic and democratic opportunities afforded by Internet access.

Maintaining a geographic information system (GIS) that leverages public input and project data to identify priorities for infrastructure projects and compiles scenarios for planning and execution to provide action steps for public and private efforts .

Data will be collected across the tri-county region through mid-2023, with a planned extension of data collection throughout the year and into early 2024. Data collected over the next two months will prioritize the last mile infrastructure investment action for expected funds to be received next year.

The BCPC is one of several strategic initiatives led by the Economic Development Collaborative. Formed in 2014, the consortium is funded by the California Public Utilities Commission, which serves as an advocate for broadband implementation and adoption in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties.