Broadband as vital as water to Santa Cruz County economy

1 June 2014 by Steve Blum
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Upgraded broadband infrastructure is at the center of Santa Cruz County’s proposed economic development plan, and the public is being asked to comment on it. Santa Cruz County supervisors voted unanimously to start a formal 45-day review process for the draft Economic Vitality Plan that sets out 7 steps for improving the local economy.

Broadband facilities would be as important as any other type of public infrastructure, such as roads and water. The document is laced with references to broadband development goals. For example, one of the 7 goals is to improve “public sector capacity and infrastructure”, including broadband…

The County will continue a focus on broadband infrastructure throughout the county to enable businesses to function in the digital era, and students and households to have high quality access to information and communication. The County will work with industry providers to develop a Broadband Master Plan in order to identify focus areas within the county that will be most suitable for gigabyte services, particularly as the Sunesys backbone line is constructed during 2014 and 2015. The County will work with service (last mile) providers to ensure that these focus areas are deemed a priority, in order to support streaming requirements, product development, job creation and online selling capability.

Anyone can offer comments on the plan; the deadline is 7 July 2014. The Economic Vitality Plan is also central to the county’s broadband development initiative, spearheaded by Aptos supervisor Zach Friend. That process continues, too, with new rules for handling permits for broadband infrastructure construction expected to be considered next month.