Veto of AB 2749 Means Unserved Californians Will Have to Wait Years for Broadband

The following statement may be attributed to Steve Schwerbel, State Advocacy Manager for WISPA – Broadband Without Boundaries:
Sacramento, CA, September 30, 2022 – WISPA and its 80 California members are greatly disappointed by California Governor Gavin Newsom’s veto of AB 2749 – legislation that would have made broadband grant dollars accessible to a wider variety of providers, such as Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs), and enabling localities to use the best, most agile tools available to bridge the digital divide.
AB 2749 worked to amend CPUC practice, which favors fiber-only builds for support funding.  It enjoyed almost unanimous, bi-partisan support in the California Assembly and Senate.  The bill’s technology-neutral approach allows limited dollars to stretch further, opening up solutions which a fiber monoculture cannot quickly or cost-effectively address.  Governor Newsom had a tremendous opportunity to use the legislation’s flexibility to quickly bridge the digital divide, which strands far too many Californians in rural, under-resourced or Tribal areas.
We remain thankful to the bill’s author, Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, and for the Legislature’s support, and are exploring other options to ensure the CPUC can follow through on the intent and purpose of AB 2749.  Californians deserve reliable broadband today, not years from now.  The promise of more solutions for localities, not solely one, provides the best path for getting all Californians online no matter where they live.
About WISPA – Broadband Without Boundaries
WISPA’s approximately 1000 members provide fixed broadband connectivity, and include equipment suppliers, support services, and other industry partners and stakeholders. Our members provide broadband access to millions of residential and business customers in rural, urban, and Tribal areas across America.
Mike Wendy