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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $500,000 in CARES Act Recovery Assistance to Support Broadband Planning in California’s Central Sierra Region

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $500,000 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to the County of Tuolumne, California, to create a guiding document on the development of broadband in the five-county Central Sierra region.

“The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in supporting locally-generated economic development strategies designed to mitigate economic hardships brought on by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Dennis Alvord, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This project will advance plans to increase reliable broadband service vital to business expansion, retention, and resiliency in California’s Central Sierra region.”

“Universal broadband is critical to the state’s economy, education and basic health and well-being, and will help California recover from the pandemic in an equitable way,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “The state is grateful for this support for the Central Sierra region’s broadband planning, and we look forward to continuing to work with the federal government to close the Digital Divide for all Californians.”

“As students transitioned to distance learning and many adults moved to remote work, broadband has been more critical than ever for California families,” said Senator Alex Padilla. “Unfortunately, many rural areas do not have adequate access to broadband. That needs to change. Developing affordable, reliable broadband is important to providing economic opportunity to all regions of California now and into the future.”

This EDA investment funds the Broadband Roadmap Project, which will guide the development of broadband in Amador, Alpine, Calaveras, Mariposa and Tuolumne counties by addressing current business access, policies to help guide counties on a day to day basis, and opportunities to reduce barriers for current internet service providers to build infrastructure in the region.

This project is funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law 116-136 PDF), which provided EDA with $1.5 billion for economic assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) (PDF) program, provides a wide-range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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