2023 Q2 Status Update

Posted on September 30, 2023

Activities continue to implement the Strategic Plan, set up an operational entity, and seek funding. Since the last project update, the County and City of San Rafael began activities in the work plans of their Local Area Technical Assistance (LATA) Grants. Marin County also brought on an intern, Andrew Popov, a rising Junior at Terra Linda High School, through the Career Explorers Program. Andrew is working with the Digital Marin Team to assist with badly needed website updates including tracking progress and posting the Governance and Business Model Report.


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
      • California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) Local Area Technical Assistance (LATA) grants
      • Marin County: $500,000
        • Five areas: Marin City, and the unincorporated areas of coastal Marin, Novato/surrounding area, southern Marin, and Gallinas Valley/San Pedro.
        • Bruce Vogen and Marin’s consultant EntryPoint Networks and their subcontractors began working on LATA grant activities.
        • Continued working with San Rafael to coordinate projects
      • San Rafael: $258,000 focusing on the Canal area
        • San Rafael’s team and EntryPoint Networks and their subcontractors began working on LATA grant activities.
      • Met with Frontier to discuss the County’s challenge to the accuracy of their availability data in the Novato area on the FCC broadband maps. Challenge was resolved and Frontier updated their data again. They are deploying fiber in that area.
      • Continuing to review internet availability maps, provide comments, and identify potential infrastructure funding for the various unserved areas in Marin. Preparing to submit applications were applicable as funding opportunities become available.
      • Began meetings with current internet service providers to provide an update on Digital Marin activities and learn more about their plans and interest, if any, in applying for State and Federal funds.
    • Strategy 3: Increase access to affordable broadband service.
      • 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 Free Library is in the recruitment process for a project coordinator with interview in early July. Project can begin once the coordinator is onboarded.
  • 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
      • Worked with Consultant to finalize their report and recommendations for a governance structure and operational model. Began development of briefing material for elected and appointed officials.
        • Recommend continuing to incubate Digital Marin in IST, transition to a JPA or similar organizational structure, with a final goal of becoming equivalent to a utility
        • Recommend pursuing true open access with Marin being responsible for infrastructure and the network layer, with Internet Service Providers delivering internet services to have more control over affordability, quality, and access.
        • Recommend beginning with “proof of concept” projects in un- and under-served areas funded by the LATA grants to prepare for making grant applications for CASF, Federal Funding Account (FFA) last mile, or Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) funds for deployment


Upcoming Milestones

  • Circulate Governance and Business Model Report for Digital Marin. Seek approval and resources to move forward with recommendations.
  • Launch the MHA digital divide project.
  • Continue work on LATA grant activities.

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 LMassey@MarinCounty.org for more information, questions, and assistance.
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