Public-private partnership to be explored to expand Elk Grove broadband access




As part of a national effort to expand broadband internet access, the city of Elk Grove will explore creating a public-private partnership to fulfill the need. That decision was made at the Wednesday, September 13 Elk Grove City Council meeting.

In a staff report presented by the city's innovation department, the council members heard about the gaps in broadband internet service in the city. While the city's rural area has long experienced poor internet service, council members were told geography is just one restraint.

As noted by innovations department employee Carrie Whitlock, income and race also play a role in broadband access. 

"Over 16 percent of household incomes below $50,000 per year have no internet connection," she said. 

She also noted while Latino and African American families make up almost 30 percent of the city's population, as a group, they are nearly half of the households without internet access.

Whitlock presented four options to bridge the divide. They include developing a municipally owned and operated internet utility, a public-private partnership, a private open access network, or leaving the current system intact. 

Whitlock's report recommended the city further study a public-private partnership. Under such a system, a vendor would develop the system the city would eventually own. 

During their deliberations, the city council accepted the recommendation. A portion of the $1.3 million from the city's American Rescue Plan Act grant will be used to conduct a public-private feasibility study. 
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Atticus Finch said...

I am in favor of Option C. Private, Open Access Network. The idea of government participating in the design, management, construction and eventual ownership of something as significant as internet access is frightening. The potential for abuse and nefarious activity, even if the percentage is small, is still too great given what is at stake. Ecommerce, public AND private communication, public discourse, and free, unfettered access to information is just too important to be entrusted to government officials. Let's not kid ourselves here. Our illustrious council hasn't exactly endeared themselves to their constituents by being forthright and transparent when it comes to public expenditures.

Authoritarian governments around the world monitor internet access and when they deem it appropriate, restrict and even disconnect internet access. You might say that could never happen here. After January 6, 2021, all bets are off my friends. THIS IS DANGEROUS. DO NOT ALLOW IT!

https://www.hrw.org/news/2023/06/13/india-internet-shutdowns-hurt-vulnerable-communities
https://www.accessnow.org/press-release/keepiton-internet-shutdowns-2022-india/
https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-net/2022/countering-authoritarian-overhaul-internet

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