Southern Border Broadband Consortium

The Southern Border Broadband Consortium will identify and resolve broadband connectivity issues to close the digital divide throughout communities in Imperial; San Diego Counties. Without broadband connectivity, residents lack access to advanced healthcare services, online banking, distance learning, employment opportunities, business resources and more. A connected community is one with access to critical online services and an enhanced quality of life.

 

 

May 2019 Update

The Southern Border Broadband Consortium has been working hard to increase our community outreach and awareness. René Pollard was hired in September 2018 as the Outreach Coordinator. The marketing and outreach materials have been revised to increase the collection of internet needs surveys at resource fairs, workshops, and community events. USB devices are given out when a questionnaire is completed, which has increased intake exponentially!

The SBBC has been continuing our collaboration with local agencies to bridge the Digital Divide, including the Boys and Girls Club of Imperial Valley, WPNP, Tech Depot, ICOE, Area Agency on Aging, SBDC, GeoLinks, and Calipatria Unified School District. We have increased the number of community events we are attending and have several more on the calendar for this quarter. Spectrum has been working with SBBC to determine locations for five Wi-Fi towers to be installed in Imperial County. Educational workshops are being drafted in coordination with the Area Agency on Agency and the Small Business Development Center, following the NTIA’s Toolkit guidelines.

SBBC is coordinating with the Boys and Girls Club of Imperial Valley, Workforce Development Board, Spectrum, and ICOE to establish Digital Literacy Centers throughout Imperial County to provide a work area with laptops and iPads for students attending the facilities.  If you are interested in donating any computers, laptops, iPads, or sponsorship, or for more information on these centers, please contact Glenna Barrett at glenna@ivedc.com.

SBBC traveled to Oakland in December 2018, and Sacramento in March 2019 to attend the California Emerging Technology Fund Board of Expert Advisors Roundtable. It was a great opportunity to meet and interact with key people at CETF as well as several representatives of the CPUC in attendance and continuing involvement at the state level to maintain forward momentum. Topics of discussion included the use of broadband for improving emergency services, digital inclusion, and perspectives and proposals from local government.

Our most recent quarterly meeting was held in conjunction with the Communications, Technology, and Digital Inclusion Panel of speakers at the Imperial Valley Energy Summit on April 24, 2019. The event was hosted by Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation and was held at Imperial Valley College. The panel was moderated by Buz Schott of Charter Communications. Panelists included Matt Rantanen with Tribal Digital Village; Teri Sanders with Imperial County Office of Education; Philip Deneef with GeoLinks; and Antonio Romayor, Jr with El Centro Elementary School District. Phillip Deneef presented at a breakout session on how to get connected in rural communities.  Philip provided interactive maps and information on areas GeoLinks is assisting communities in getting connected to broadband in the area.

The Imperial County Office of Education hosted Tech de Mayo and the Celebration of Education to support efforts to close the Digital Divide for families as well as closing the homework gap for students without internet access at home, SBBC was able to sponsor both of these events. ICOE has been busy expanding their BorderLink project to install towers and provide students with connectivity at home.

SBBC has been working with the California Public Utility Commission to get the word out about their meetings and infrastructure grant opportunities. More information can be found at their website (https://www.cpuc.ca.gov/Communications/).

The USDA Rural Development office is dispersing information on their ReConnect Program, which offers loans, grants, and loan/grant combinations to facilitate broadband deployment in areas of rural America without sufficient access to broadband. More can be found about that program on their website (https://www.usda.gov/reconnect/events).

 

Sponsorship information coming soon!

 

 

 

 

 

For more information, contact Glenna Barrett at glenna@ivedc.com.
 
Glenna Barrett
SBBC Executive Director and Business Development
Southern Border Broadband Consortium
Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation

 

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