State government representatives, industry, and Newberry's delegation met last year on May 16th.
(Photo from the NSCA May 17, 2023, news blog.)

  Update: Newberry Springs Edging  
  Closer To High-Speed Broadband  

Posted: May 1, 2024
Newberry Springs Community Alliance
by Ted Stimpfel

Completion of high-speed fiber-optic
in Newberry could be only 2½ years away!

    May 16, 2024, will mark the first anniversary of when a handful of Newberry residents traveled to Cal State University San Bernardino (CSUSB) to lobby State officials for to-the-door fiber-optic broadband in Newberry Springs.

    This blog is being written in amazement as to how quickly progress is being made in the massive job of bridging the digital divide in California. This June (next month), the State is expected to announce the first applicants to receive Last-Mile grants. This is the delivery of high-speed fiber optic broadband to the door of residents and businesses.

    California, under federal guidelines, has until the end of 2024 to award all of the federal funds. A recipient of grant funds (like Frontier Communications) then has 24 months to complete the project. An extension can only be given upon an extraordinary circumstance (major flooding, tornado, etc.).

    California was hit with about 500 broadband grant applications from Internet Service Providers. Large companies like AT&T, Spectrum, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Frontier submitted many applications. The State has had to hire additional staff.

    Many of the applications are competing over the same territory. So, it makes sense for the State to first make awards to the easy applications who are not in a fistfight.

    As the Mojave Valley only has Frontier Communications attempting to provide our fiber optic service, without a competitor, it is favorable that Frontier's Newberry application might acquire an early award. That means that Newberry could have full broadband coverage by the end of 2026.

    Whether Frontier Communications will be given the full grant that it is requesting for Newberry Springs isn't known. However, as Newberry Springs had the only rural delegation participating in the state's Inland Empire data-gathering meeting on May 16, 2023, the State officials understand Newberry's need.

    The Newberry delegation at the CSUSB meeting placed faces behind the community's name. I feel that Newberry Springs has a slight advantage because it lobbied for recognition.

    Newberry Springs is in Region 5.


Click to enlarge.


Click to enlarge.

    The State seems to be moving at warp speed with its Middle-Mile progress (fiber optic mainlines being placed mostly along highways) that the Last-Mile (to the home) fiber will need to be tied into.

    When completed, the state's Middle-Mile will be the nation's largest broadband backbone infrastructure network.

    California's Last-Mile progress has been slower. In having a 4-year timetable, California spent 2 years in rule-making, making the final two years something of a scramble. However, results are happening.

    In the graph below, it is the final column Last-Mile Federal Funding Account that we are interested in tapping.

Click to enlarge.

    The following photographs were discovered last week on a California state website. The photographs are of the Newberry Springs delegation at the May 16, 2023, Cal State U. San Bernardino meeting.

    The photographs were taken by a state photographer and used as part of a State federal grant application and served as verification of the State's outreach. All of the state photographs that included a member of Newberry's delegation are shown below.  

    I was surprised to see this photograph of myself addressing the audience (blog's top photograph). Having worked for many years trying to acquire high-speed Internet service for Newberry Springs, in conjunction with the Inland Empire Regional Broadband Consortium (IERBC), I was volunteered to speak by the IERBC who assisted the State in organizing the meeting.

    My presentation was entirely about Newberry Springs and was principally directed to the attention of the attending State broadband officials and their recording.

    My presentation called for digital equity and I qualified underserved Newberry Springs as fully meeting the qualifications for Internet connectivity through high-speed fiber optics. I further stressed the President's message of reaching the remotest rural households with broadband deployment to bridge the nation's digital divide.

    The informational data collected by the State at this important meeting, and the compiled data from other meetings in California, was presented to the federal government. This later resulted in the federal government allocating a little under $2 billion to California for Last-Mile (BEAD) fiber-optic installations. (The money is now in the pipeline but not yet received.)

    Martha van Rooijen (right), Executive Director of the Inland Empire Regional Broadband Consortium, which comprises of San Bernardino and Riverside counties, conferring with me.

    Martha van Rooijen, a well-known figure to the California Emerging Technology Fund, has been a major behind-the-scene supporter of Newberry Springs acquiring fiber-optic broadband. Newberry's Ron Beardshear and Paula Deel are in the background.

    Newberry's Pastor Charles with his wife Gwen Patrick, myself, and Ron Beardshear. Each member of Newberry's delegation team was important in providing Newberry Springs with a voice at this meeting. Paula Deel, Pastor Charles and Gwen Patrick, and Ron Beardshear each helped to favorably position broadband for Newberry.

    Pastor Charles and Gwen Patrick talk with a state representative while I gripped a pen reviewing notes.

    Pastor Charles (above), and Ron Beardshear (photo below), contribute data to wall charts regarding Newberry Springs.

CSUSB campus.

Original May 17, 2023, news blog.

June 6, 2023, news blog update.

Statewide Middle-Mile Network Interactive Map.

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