2024 Q3 Status Update

Posted on May 6, 2024


Activities continue to implement the Strategic Plan’s goals and strategies. Since the last project update the following activities occurred.  See Notable Accomplishments and Updates for detailed information.

  • The County and City of San Rafael continued activities from the work plans of their Local Area Technical Assistance (LATA) Grants. Work must be completed by October 2024.
  • The County and our consultant EntryPoint Networks responded to questions from the CPUC regarding our joint application for Last Mile FFA grant funding. Notice of awards are expected in June.
  • Filed objections to AT&T’s last mile funding grant applications in Marin.
  • Continued monitoring and actively participating in the State Middle Mile Broadband Initiative to bring 10,000 mile open access fiber network throughout CA including a fiber ring along Highways 1 and 101 in Marin, with an estimated value $30M.
  • While most of the available funding is for broadband infrastructure, a project coordinator was hired and is busy working to implement the County funded digital divide project at Marin Housing Authority sites serving older adults and people with disabilities.
  • Sent a letter of opposition to AT&T Applications to CPUC for Relief of its Carrier of Last Resort (COLR) Obligation related to the requirement to provide landline phone service.
  • Sent a letter to Congress advocating for additional funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program through passage of the bi-cameral, bi-partisan Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act.
  • Continue to expand support of Marin’s residents and public and privates sectors through the Marin Security and Privacy Council.


Notable Accomplishments and Updates

  • Goal 1: High-quality broadband is available to everyone in Marin oStrategy 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 to be 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.
  • Comcast applied for a Last Mile FFA grant in the amount of $300,000 for Los Robles Mobile Home Park, an area not included in our application, connecting to their own middle mile infrastructure. In support of it.
  • AT&T submitted several applications for parts of Marin County. Filed official objections to those where maps show they did not meet the criteria for unserved.
  • Award notifications are scheduled for June 2024.
  • California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) Local Area Technical Assistance (LATA) grants
    • Marin County: $500,000 oThe focus of work in West Marin led to Last Mile FFA grant application above.
      • Focus is now on Marin City designs.
    • San Rafael: $258,000 focusing on the Canal area o 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.
    • Conducted significant analysis of data regarding internet services and resources in Marin County and prepared detailed information by District that helps inform decision making,
  • State Middle Mile Broadband Initiative
    • 10,000 mile open access fiber network throughout CA
    • Marin’s Open Access fiber ring is along Highways 1 and 101; estimated value $30M
    • Continue to monitor to retain commitment and advocate for construction o 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 for two years, devices, training, and two year’s support at five MHA housing sites for older adults and people with disabilities.
    • Fixed Term Broadband Systems Engineer is working with MHA and Comcast to complete infrastructure work.
    • Developed time line and tasks for the project.
    • Developing standards for equipment, software, security, and accessibility.
    • Official kick off meeting of project Executive Steering Committee, comprised of County IST, Library, MHA, and Comcast, is scheduled for May 9th.
    • Will be recruiting volunteers for initial assessment interviews and equipment delivery, setup, and initial training.
  • AT&T Applications to CPUC regarding provision of landlines
    • Withdrawal Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC) Designation (A.23-03-002)
    • Relief from its Carrier of Last Resort (COLR) Obligation (A.23-03-003)
    • Approximately 23,000 households have access to landlines, but may not all use them
    • Board sent a letter to the CPUC to oppose the application and any action that would o Leave households without reliable phone service
      • Reduce the quality of phone service
      • Remove Lifeline or other landline-based accessibility, medically necessary, or security services
      • Increase the cost of phone service for our vulnerable residents
      • Restrict the ability for other ISPs to provide service to affected households
    • Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) Wind Down
      • ACP provides funds for Internet service to eligible households; some devices
      • Federal funding runs out in May; applications no longer being accepted
      • Board sent letter to Congress advocating for continue funding and in support of the bicameral, bi-partisan Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act
      • Goal 3: Marin has a high rate of digital adoption that benefits everyone o Strategy 1: Improve privacy, security, and digital accessibility across Marin
    • Continued to expand resources for and increase membership in the Marin Security and Privacy Council
    • Sending monthly Marin CyberSafe News newsletter via open registration

Upcoming Milestones

  • Begin rollout at MHA Project sites.
  • Provide a report to the Board of Supervisor regarding internet resources in Marin.
  • Complete LATA grant activities by October 2024.
  • 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 so that Digital Marin’s activities continue without disruption while sustainable funding is secured for ongoing operations.

Request for Action

  • Volunteers needed to obtain training and, with oversight by the Project Coordinator, conduct initial assessment interviews of residents at the five MHA sites and then deliver, setup, and provide initial “how to” training. We anticipate these activities will begin this summer. Please contact me at Liza.Massey@MarinCounty.gov if you and/or your colleagues are interested in participating.
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