Dozens of city leaders participated in the first briefing of the Rural City Information Exchange on March 19. The webinar included a special presentation from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves and CPUC Communications and Transportation Advisor Michael Mullaney on COVID-19 Broadband Information, Broadband grant opportunities for local governments, the Redundancy and Resiliency Proposal, and CPUC Universal Service Programs. The webinar also featured a legislative update and briefing on recent COVID-19 response efforts from the League.
Here's a summary of the opportunities available to cities:
COVID-19 Broadband Information
The CPUC has developed a list of consumer protection provisions
enacted in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in California. This list covers both Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs), which are regulated by the CPUC, and Publicly Owned Utilities (POUs). The CPUC has also created a resource page at https://www.cpuc.ca.gov/covid/
, which provides information on upcoming CPUC meetings, as well as what the CPUC and utilities under its jurisdiction are doing to support communities during these challenging times.
Broadband Grant Opportunities for Cities
The presentation covered multiple broadband grant opportunities available to cities including the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund
(RDOF), the California Advancement Services Fund
, and programs such as California LifeLine
and the California Teleconnect Fund
. Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency and in response to some stakeholders’ requests, the CPUC has extended some application deadlines. Visit the grant application pages for the most current application deadline information.
Redundancy and Resiliency Proposal
The presentation also included information on new CPUC proposals for maintaining resilient and dependable communications networks during catastrophic events that will better aid emergency responders and ensure the public’s ability to reliably communicate and receive critical information. The proposals are an effort to develop a uniform and structured approach for ensuring communications providers are meeting every facet of their responsibility to provide safe and reliable service to Californians in future disasters. The proposal covers three overarching areas of concern including: ensuring resiliency in communications provider networks, critical facility location information sharing, and emergency operations plans. Comments by parties on the proposals are due March 27, and reply comments are due April 3. To learn more, view the CPUC proposal
on resiliency planning.
Upcoming Rural Cities Information Exchange Webinar
Rural cities are uniquely vulnerable to the effects of disasters such as wildfires, earthquakes, and flooding. Therefore, finding affordable solutions to sustainable power that will support critical infrastructure is particularly daunting. Join the League for this Rural City Information Exchange webinar on April 29, 10:30-11:30 a.m., and hear from field experts and rural city colleagues how to address these issues. Register online at www.cacities.org/events
by Tuesday, April 28 at noon.
The Rural City Information Exchange was created by the League’s board of directors as a forum for rural cities to share ideas and best practices specifically geared to their communities. A resource page for the Rural City Information Exchange can be found on the League’s website.