EconAlliance is a non-profit cross-industry alliance that fosters awareness, advocacy, support and appreciation for Northern Santa Barbara County industries and communities.

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Broadband Activities

Sometimes called the “fourth utility”, broadband is critical 21st Century infrastructure, and the growth, effectiveness and innovation in Northern Santa Barbara County are not able to be maximized due to the area’s broadband limitations.

A recent analysis of statewide broadband (“California Broadband Infrastructure Report Card”, March 2020, Tellus Venture Association, see link in "Links and References") gave Santa Barbara County a D-, meaning that there is only one wireline provider offering (not necessarily even in all areas) broadband speeds of 100 Mbps down/20 Mbps up. More recent figures may show some slight improvement, but the fact is that in 2021, there are still areas either un-served or severely under-served by broadband.

EconAlliance serves as the northern Santa Barbara County liaison to the tri-county Broadband Consortium Pacific Coast (BCPC), providing outreach, education, advocacy and support for the enhancement of broadband in the area. This is done through policymaker visits, forums, webinars, research, and advocacy. In 2020, EconAlliance and BCPC’s Santa Barbara County broadband chair Chris Chirgwin and EconAlliance developed a concept to enhance accessibility, redundancy and resiliency of broadband. This concept, the Northern Santa Barbara County Fiber Ring Network (see link in "Links and References"), has since guided EconAlliance broadband enhancement activities.

Key Current Broadband Activities

  • Advocacy and other efforts supporting accelerated development of the Northern Santa Barbara County Fiber Ring Network, a middle-mile infrastructure element envisioned as enhancing broadband access for North County communities, industries, anchor institutions and key assets. EconAlliance is supporting partnerships, exploring funding potential, writing and co-writing grants, and socializing the Fiber Ring concept. Part of this effort involves developing and maintaining a preliminary broadband strategy for North County.
  • Supporting Vandenberg IT team’s broadband enhancement. In March, 2021, Vandenberg Air Force Base changed its name to Vandenberg Space Force Base, setting the stage for the Base’s new vision as a “Spaceport of the Future”. To foster spaceport readiness, a major upgrade in connectivity was required and in 2020, EconAlliance and BCPC assisted the Base IT team with market research around broadband improvements – hosting a broadband provider/Base IT team “meet and greet”, and identifying potential providers to meet Vandenberg’s unique needs.
  • In 2020, EconAlliance, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash and BCPC co-wrote a successful tribal grant to the US Department of the Interior to develop a Tribal broadband strategy for linking traditional Chumash lands to new Trust lands. Partners are now implementing.
  • In 2021, EconAlliance is beginning a broadband needs assessment for North County. Pacific Premier Bank is supporting this important effort with partial funding of the assessment.


initiative-FOCUSED ACTIVITIES


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LINKS AND REFERENCES

EconAlliance 2021 Broadband Activities (Link)

BCPC Fiber Ring Overview (Link)

BCPC's Web Page (Link)

"California Broadband Infrastructure Report Card", Tellus Associates, March 24, 2020 (Link)

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Admin@econalliance.com
(805) 254-4479

540 E. Betteravia #234

Santa Maria, CA 93454

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