Broadband infrastructure follows roads and rails to West Sacramento

13 April 2017 by Steve Blum
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The railroads and freeways that made West Sacramento a logistic hub brought robust fiber optic infrastructure with them. As a result, the city is criss-crossed by long haul and metro fiber lines and hosts two data centers. That’s the one of the top line results of a study completed by Tellus Venture Associates and presented to the West Sacramento city council last week. Other findings include…

  • Along with excellent industrial grade fiber networks and data centers, the City of West Sacramento owns a significant amount of telecommunications conduit that can be used to leverage those assets.
  • The primary broadband infrastructure in West Sacramento, which is owned by AT&T and Wave, is near average when compared to California as a whole, receiving a “C-” grade (1.9 out of 4.0). That’s on a par with many Silicon Valley communities.
  • Nevertheless, consumers and business people generally believe that the Internet service they receive is not fast enough or reliable enough for their needs.
  • Mobile broadband service varies by provider, with some offering citywide coverage and others showing significant gaps in availability and/or capacity.
  • A glaring digital divide exists, with half of households adopting broadband at a significantly lower rate than Californians overall. This split correlates to economic status. Households with lower broadband adoption rates have an average income of about $41,000 per year, while those with higher rates average $75,000 and up.

Top of the policy and project recommendation list is for West Sacramento to keep doing what it’s already doing right – installing conduit in public works projects and leasing it to telecoms companies, for example – and build on that base by looking at extending fiber and conduit to industrial areas that need it.

Addressing the digital divide is also needful, and the City will be doing targeted public outreach to identify specific broadband development targets. Recommended next steps also include advocating for residents with state and federal regulators and policy makers, including urging that temporary low income programs offered by broadband providers be made permanent.

City of West Sacramento Broadband Infrastructure Assessment and Action Plan, 30 March 2017
Presentation to the West Sacramento City Council, 5 April 2017