Broadband Access in Rural Communities
02:04 Mike gives a recap of last week’s podcast episode.
03:53 Guest Cecilia Aguiar-Curry is introduced.
04:51 Cecilia talks about why the issue of broadband is important to her.
06:19 Cecilia speaks of the relationship between under-connected communities and Internet access.
07:55 Cecilia informs us about AB-1665, the broadband-access bill.
10:42 Cecilia discusses if she’s in federal-level discussions regarding infrastructure services in rural areas.
12:49 Cecilia expresses the role that broadband plays in agriculture.
14:33 Cecilia shares the application she sees in helping people access state government in relation to smart-city applications and open-data portals.
16:10 Cecilia states her thoughts on how to continue innovation in smart technology, without leaving rural communities behind.
17:55 Cecilia addresses the decline of retail.
22:39 Kate shares what she noticed this week in the news.
25:54 Mike states what he noticed this week in the news.
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.
Cecilia Aguiar-Curry is an American politician who has been elected to the California State Assembly. She is a Democrat representing the 4th Assembly District, encompassing Wine Country and parts of the Sacramento Valley.
Cecilia grew up in western Yolo County and has long served her community. After going to school and working in the Bay Area for several years, she moved back to her hometown of Winters where she almost immediately became active in the local community and a regional leader on several issues. She first served as planning commissioner and then was elected to the city council eventually serving as the first female mayor of Winters.
While growing up, Cecilia was surrounded by agriculture. As a youth, she cut apricots in the packing shed and helped her father in the walnut orchards in the area. She is still involved in local agriculture to this day as she and her brothers own an 80-acre walnut orchard.
“It was really important for me to make sure that the families had the digital literacy training. I didn’t want anybody, ever, left behind, and I don’t think anybody in a rural community, as well as urban community, should be left behind and not be able to be part of the digital age.”
“People always said, well, in a rural community, you don’t have, necessarily, an educated population to be able to take on this digital literacy. I say that’s wrong. And the problem is that you’re not exposed to these opportunities. So bringing this kind of education to the forefront in our schools, in our libraries, in our community, is really important to all of us — it helps with the economic development, it helps with telehealth, it helps with so many things.”
“We wanted to make sure that the rural communities were connected, because it’s very easy to say the state of California, 95 percent of the people had Internet capabilities, but quite frankly, that 95 percent could be just taken up with the populations of the San Diegos, the Los Angeles’, the Silicon Valleys, the San Franciscos — the bigger communities — but rural communities weren’t included in that, so on this bill, it was really important that we included rural communities had to have the connectivity the same as 98 percent as everyone else had throughout the state.”
“Many people know that I farm 80 acres of walnuts, with my brothers, outside of Winters…now a lot of the requirements is that everything has to be filed electronically. Well, lo and behold, at our ranch, we have really, really poor connectivity where we can’t even get some of the forms over to the government agencies for filings. So it’s really vital to the future of agriculture that we have this Internet capabilities. For example, many of the farmers are now replanting their orchards, or they’re planting new orchards, and we really need to monitor water more precisely. Obviously, it helps with the conservation of water, but we can do a lot of that via the Internet if we had the capabilities as some of these areas.”