Broadband Access Impacts Environment, Health, Agriculture, and Jobs
01:20 Co-host Kate Meis is introduced.
02:04 Kate talks about the Local Government Commission.
03:11 Kate shares the LGC’s upcoming events.
05:00 Kate makes known the next two podcast guests and what the podcast topics will be.
06:43 Mike mentions that access to broadband is a national issue.
07:56 Kate comments about how cutting some of the services in the infrastructure makes broadband access that much more important.
09:47 Guest Trish Kelly is introduced.
11:23 Trish tells how she became involved in the broadband-access issue.
12:18 Trish gives some statistics on who’s being left behind in the digital divide.
13:50 Trish defines the term “underserved.”
14:32 Trish informs us of the demographic breakdown of underserved communities.
16:22 Trish conveys the economic-development impacts of the rapid changes in the job force.
19:11 Trish highlights the connection between broadband and the environment.
22:21 Trish comments on the use of technology in agriculture.
24:38 Trish states some steps to position communities for job opportunities.
27:07 Trish supplies what we should be asking from our community leaders.
29:34 Trish speaks to the accessibility of information and people feeling more connected in their community.
31:52 Trish tells how people can learn more about her work.
32:46 Kate provides what she noticed this week in the news.
36:42 Mike adds his thoughts to Kate’s observations from this week.
Kate Meis joins the Infinite Earth Radio as the co-host for this episode. Kate Meis is the Executive Director of the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kate is a champion for local governments; a recognized leader in local climate change adaptation, mitigation and clean energy efforts; and an ardent coalition builder. She obtained a Masters of Science degree in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis, and has a Sociology Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Sonoma.
Trish Kelly is the Managing Director of Valley Vision. Trish joined Valley Vision as Senior Vice President in 2014, having been involved with Valley Vision on several projects over the years. As a consultant, Trish has contributed to Valley Vision initiatives in such areas as regional food systems and agriculture, broadband, economic vitality, and quality of life indicators. She is managing Valley Vision’s agriculture and food system projects and the Connected Capital Area Broadband Consortium, and is supporting other Valley Vision regional leadership efforts. Trish has a passion for projects that provide strong research and accessible information as the basis for engaging community leaders, stakeholders and partner organizations in collaborative, solution-driven strategies that will ensure a Triple-Bottom Line for the region – with shared opportunity, environmental quality and economic prosperity for all.
Valley Vision is a leadership organization dedicated to making the Sacramento region a great place to live, work, and recreate.
“In the 21st century, high-speed Internet access is no longer a luxury amenity but rather an essential service for homes and businesses in this interconnected world. No other technology has produced as much innovation, competition, and economic growth.”—Congressional letter to the new administration
“I started this process more than 10 years ago. We were working with the governor’s cabinet, looking at issues that really impeded or affected rural economic vitality, and broadband kept coming up as the number-one issue. So that led to a series of activities which have culminated, for many of us in the regions, in a program that’s supported through the Public Utilities Commission, that provides funding for regional broadband consortium and then also funding for infrastructure and other opportunities to help meet our infrastructure gaps.”
“Every year there’s a public survey that tracks overall adoption and infrastructure deployment across our regions and across the state. So we are making progress. But we know, for instance, a recent survey by the Public Utility Commission showed that only 47 percent of our rural areas have the same Internet access as urban areas. So that’s a huge divide. In our region, we looked at the grades, using Public Utility’s data, on our infrastructure in four of our counties that make up our consortium, and the grades ranged from C- to F+. So, clearly, we’re very far behind.”
“‘Underserved’ might mean that you don’t have enough competition in service, so your service might be unreliable; it might be too cost prohibitive. You might not have access to the technologies that you need to connect; maybe you’re connecting by a cell phone, but you don’t have access to a computer, so you can’t write a paper for school on a computer, or it’s very hard to do a job search, or it’s very hard to get healthcare services online. So we have a lot of variations of what ‘underserved’ looks like.”
“The data shows, through the PUC and other surveys, that the hard-to-serve markets or the underserved markets include high levels of poverty, economically disadvantaged, people who have disabilities, communities of color, and then we also have challenges in some of our older neighborhoods and our kind of industrial parks or job centers. Those are areas that didn’t have forward-leading broadband infrastructure.”