Tri-Counties residents are being encouraged to test their internet speeds
It’s a step towards better broadband infrastructure.
Residents in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties are being asked to self-report their internet experience and speed at home, work, or wherever they connect.
Shelby Arthur, from the Broadband Consortium Pacific Coast, says it’s part of an effort to identify where the gaps in broadband infrastructure exist on a regional level.
She says it’s a way to identify the need as well as to accelerate a response to digital equity issues.
"When you have some communities that are not served adequately or cannot afford to access the internet, those communities are not able to access the social and economic and democratic opportunities that those with a strong internet connection can access, " said Arthur.
"That contributes to a growing digital divide," she told KCLU.
The needs assessment survey for Santa Barbara County was completed in June 2022 as a component of the Santa Barbara County Broadband Strategic Plan. Residents of Santa Barbara County are asked to submit speed tests to continue crowdsourcing data for regional planning.
In December 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Broadband for All legislation, to advance the State’s commitment to bring affordable access to high-speed internet service across California.
The information collected through the Tri-County survey and speed test will be used to seek funding to improve affordable access to high-performing internet across the region to improve digital inclusion.
The collection of speed test data is critical to achieving the following:
- Design of broadband infrastructure that interconnects communities and households through middle-mile networks and local last-mile priorities to increase capacity, redundancy, and resiliency for disaster preparedness and to encourage industry competition.
- Advance digital inclusion work efforts that improve access to affordable broadband and provide the necessary tools and training to connect residents with social, economic, and democratic opportunities afforded by internet access.
- Maintenance of a Geographic Information System (GIS) that leverages public input and project data to identify priorities for infrastructure projects and compiles scenarios for organization and execution to provide action steps for public and private efforts.
The public is encouraged to go to Needs Assessment - BCPC Broadband Consortium of the Pacific Coast to take the assessment on a personal computer or laptop at home, at work, or wherever they connect.