Asm. Rivas Votes for Historic, Statewide Broadband Expansion—including for Rural, Underserved Communities

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – Today, the Legislature unanimously passed the broadband budget trailer bill, AB/SB 156, to expand broadband fiber infrastructure and increase internet connectivity for rural and urban families and businesses across the state. Following the vote, Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Salinas) released the following statement:

"This historic, $6 billion technological investment will go a long way to address the broadband inequities that have existed in the rural and underserved communities of our state. I applaud the Governor and Legislature for investing in the necessary infrastructure to bridge the digital divide. The pandemic has demonstrated just how reliant our modern world has become on technology. However, rural communities like my district are 12.5 times more likely to lack access to broadband compared to urban communities.

"My constituents remember all too well the picture of the two girls sitting outside a Taco Bell in Salinas to access free Wi-Fi to do their homework. Unfortunately, as we all know, this was not an isolated case or example—we know that millions of students and families lack access to broadband. Expanding middle- and last-mile broadband infrastructure will not only ensure that our community can continue to connect digitally and participate in telehealth, telecommuting, and remote learning—it will also bolster our workforce. I look forward to continuing our work to deploy broadband access to rural and underserved regions, including by passing Assembly Bill 14, the Internet for All Act of 2021."

Asm. Rivas has been an advocate for increased broadband access for his district and the state since the beginning of his tenure in the Legislature. In 2020, Asm. Rivas introduced AB 2163, the California Fairground Reliable Connectivity Act, which would have developed a grant program to install the proper infrastructure and technology needed to deploy broadband to all California fairgrounds and thereby increase broadband access for rural and unserved areas. This year, Asm. Rivas joint-authored AB 14 with Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry, which will ensure grants administered by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will prioritize bridging the digital divide in California’s most vulnerable and unserved rural and urban communities. 


Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Salinas) represents California’s 30th Assembly District, which includes all or portions of the cities and towns of Aromas, Big Sur, Chualar, Gilroy, Greenfield, Gonzales, Hollister, King City, Morgan Hill, Salinas, San Martin, San Juan Bautista, Soledad, Spreckels, and Watsonville.