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Comprehensive Transportation Projects

Regional Digital Equity Strategy and Action Plan

The digital divide is the growing gap between people with and without reliable access to broadband service and an adequate device for connecting to the internet. These disparities have heavily impacted unconnected and under-connected San Diego residents, especially low-income households, rural communities, and people in Tribal lands.

In January 2021, the SANDAG Board of Directors adopted Board Resolution 2021-09 committing to develop a regional strategy for rapid broadband deployment and adoption. The Regional Digital Equity Strategy and Action Plan lays out a roadmap for improving broadband access and adoption in the San Diego region and was adopted by the SANDAG Board of Directors on December 17, 2021.

Digital Equity Strategy and Action Plan

View the Digital Equity Story Map to learn about the state of the digital divide in the San Diego region and the communities that are impacted most:


 


Today, broadband infrastructure is lacking in the region’s rural areas and tribal reservations. Learn more about early actions underway to improve broadband access in the region:

Find Resources to “Get Connected” to the Internet

In partnership with 211 San Diego, County of San Diego, and the City of San Diego, SANDAG launched the “Get Connected” campaign to expand awareness of affordable, high-speed internet resources in the region including the Affordable Connectivity Program. The ACP provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. This benefit helps to ensure everyone in our community has equal access to the internet and all the education, economic, and social opportunities available through a reliable, affordable internet connection. Find out if you’re eligible and enroll at acpbenefit.org or call “2-1-1” to learn more about the ACP and related resources.

Help us share information about the ACP and other digital equity resources in the region by sharing by using our e-toolkit – complete with fliers, posters, FAQs and more! Visit getconnected.sandag.org.

Partnering to Close the Digital Divide

SANDAG and the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) conducted a joint request for qualifications to seek partnerships to deploy broadband infrastructure and provide high-quality and affordable broadband service to residents, businesses, public agencies, educational institutions, and tribes in the Southern California region. 20 firms were short-listed and may co-author grant applications with SANDAG and SCAG to obtain funding for broadband projects. For more information on this competitive process, contact Krystal Ayala kay@sandag.org.

Statewide Open-Access Middle-Mile Network

Signed into law in July 2021, SB 156 invests $6 billion statewide over three years to expand broadband infrastructure, improve affordability, and enhance access to broadband for all Californians. This includes the construction of a $3.25 billion state-owned open-access middle-mile broadband network.

In May 2022, the California Department of Technology announced a significant investment in broadband infrastructure, identifying several broadband projects in the San Diego region including - State Routes 67, 76, 78, and 79. When constructed, these corridors will directly benefit rural communities and Tribal Nations in the County.


SR 67 Dig Once Demonstration

In May 2021, SANDAG, Caltrans, and the County of San Diego partnered to identify $7 million in funding to install fiber with the planned Caltrans SR 67 Pavement Rehabilitation project, which will fill a critical gap in the region's fiber network. Now a part of the statewide middle-mile network, SANDAG and Caltrans are working to advance the delivery of the State’s first middle-mile segment. Construction is anticipated to begin in Spring 2022. When complete, this will enable the expansion of reliable and affordable broadband and establish the necessary infrastructure to implement transportation operation and safety improvements along the SR 67 corridor.


Regional Collaboration

SANDAG's Regional Digital Divide Taskforce consists of representatives from public agencies, broadband providers, and non-profit organizations that are actively working to bridge the digital divide. The Taskforce worked collaboratively to develop a regional framework and guiding principles to shape the development of the Regional Digital Equity Strategy and Action Plan, and provides expert input on SANDAG's digital equity work.

SANDAG's Regional Digital Infrastructure Taskforce consists of staff involved in permitting, development services, and engineering of the various local jurisdictions, tribes, and transportation agencies. This taskforce works together to develop regional permitting standards and practices that streamline deployment of digital communications infrastructure to advance intelligent transportation solutions, smart cities, and broadband in underserved areas. 

Project Managers

Krystal Ayala, Senior Partnerships Strategist
Phone: (619) 699-1998, Email: krystal.ayala@sandag.org