2023 Q3 Status Update

Posted on May 6, 2024


Activities continue to implement the Strategic Plan. Since the last project update, the County and City of San Rafael continue activities in the work plans of their Local Area Technical Assistance (LATA) Grants.  Last week, Marin County, in partnership with EntryPoint Networks, applied for $11 million to build fiber infrastructure in coastal Marin. IST High School Intern completed updates to the GoDigitalMarin.org website including information regarding tracking our progress and the Implementation Report which includes recommendations for a business model and governance. 

Notable Accomplishments and Updates 

  • Goal 1: High-quality broadband is available to everyone in Marin 
  • Strategy 1: Assist with the deployment of universally accessible public and public/private broadband services throughout Marin 
  • Last Mile Federal Funding Account (FFA) Grant 
  • The CA Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) allocated a total of $11.5 million from the Last Mile FFA for Marin. The grant is awarded via a competitive process that allows providers, local governments, non-profits, etc. to apply. 
  • Marin County, in partnership with EntryPoint Networks, applied for a grant from the Last Mile FFA in the amount of $11.06 million to build open access fiber infrastructure to the home in the coastal Marin communities of Muir Beach, Tomales, and Dillon Beach. The application proposes using the State’s Open Access Middle Mile Fiber Network. 
  • Notified that Comcast applied for a Last Mile FFA grant in the amount of $300,000 for Los Robles Mobile Home Park connecting to their own middle mile infrastructure. 
  • Marin County: $500,000 
  • Bruce Vogen, Marin’s consultant EntryPoint Networks, and their subcontractors continue working on LATA grant activities. 
  • Based on updated FCC and CPUC availability maps and further research, the communities being assessed were updated to four: Marin City, and the unincorporated areas of Muir Beach, Tomales, and Dillon Beach. 
  • San Rafael: $258,000 focusing on the Canal area 
  • Continued working with San Rafael to coordinate projects. 
  • San Rafael’s team, EntryPoint Networks, and their subcontractors continue working on LATA grant activities in the Canal area. 
  • Incumbent internet service providers 
  • Completed meetings with current internet service providers to update them regarding Digital Marin’s activities and learn more about their plans and interest, if any, in applying for State and Federal funds.  
  • Only Comcast indicated that they would apply for the Last Mile FFA grant. 
  • Strategy 3: Increase access to affordable broadband service 
  • Marin Housing Authority Project 
  • The Board approved allocation of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for the collaborative project to provide broadband connectivity, free internet service, devices, training, and support at five MHA housing sites for older adults and people with disabilities. 
  • Marin County continues the recruitment process for a project coordinator.  Project can begin once the coordinator is onboarded. 
  • Drafted initial plan and time line to complete the project. 
  • Goal 4: Marin has a community driven organization with a mission to deliver broadband for all 
  • Strategy 1: Obtain funding and create an independent operating entity 
  • Implementation Report 
  • Consultant’s Implementation Report with recommendations for a governance structure and operational model was completed and posted to the Digital Marin website. 
  • Based on those recommendations, the following activities are underway. 
  • Continuing to incubate the Digital Marin program in Marin County Information Services and Technology (IST) Department. 
  • Pursuing an open access last mile fiber infrastructure project through a public/private partnership. The partnership would be responsible for infrastructure and the network layer, with Internet Service Providers delivering internet services. This model allows Marin to have more control over affordability, quality, and access. 

Upcoming Milestones 

  • Hire a project coordinator and launch the MHA digital divide project. 
  • Continue work on LATA grant activities. 
  • Monitor Marin’s Last Mile FFA grant application. 
  • Continue updates to the website. 

Key Issues, Risks, & Impediments 

  • Risk – Ability to secure enough transitional funding and resources, specifically personnel, so that Digital Marin’s activities continue without disruption while sustainable funding is secured for ongoing operations. 

Request for Action 

  • We continue to seek adoptions by every city and town in Marin, missing Novato, Larkspur, Corte Madera, Belvedere, Ross, and Fairfax.  Sample staff reports and resolutions are available. Please contact me at Liza.Massey@MarinCounty.gov for more information, questions, and assistance.  
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