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Comprehensive Transportation Projects

Regional Digital Equity Strategy and Action Plan

Recent crises like the global pandemic and severe wildfires have exacerbated the digital divide – or the growing gap between the members of society who do not have reliable access to broadband service and an adequate device for connecting to the internet and those who do. These disparities put unconnected and under-connected San Diego residents at a disadvantage:

- 21% of households earning less than $50,000/year do not have a broadband subscription 

- 17% of seniors age 65 and up do not have a broadband subscription 

- 20-40% of students in many local districts lack home internet access  

- 39% of businesses and 42% of employees reported problems with poor internet access while working at home during the pandemic 

In May 2021, SANDAG, Caltrans, and the County of San Diego partnered to identify $7 million in funding to incorporate fiber installation with the planned Caltrans SR 67 Pavement Rehabilitation project, which will fill a critical gap in the region’s fiber network. This will enable the expansion of reliable and affordable broadband for communities along the SR 67 corridor. In addition to increasing access to broadband, the project will also establish the necessary infrastructure to implement transportation operation and safety improvements along this corridor in the future, by providing communication links to emergency management centers. SANDAG and Caltrans will conduct a procurement during summer 2021 to identify a partner(s) interested in leveraging the trench and/or sharing fiber conduit.  For more information, contact Krystal Ayala, Senior Partnerships Strategist, at krystal.ayala@sandag.org.

In August 2020, Governor Newsom signed Executive Order N-73-20, directing state agencies to increase access to high-quality broadband statewide. Subsequently, the SANDAG Board of Directors adopted Board Resolution 2021-09 in January 2021 committing to develop a Digital Equity Strategy and Action Plan that leads to rapid broadband deployment and adoption in the San Diego region. 

The Strategy is intended to be completed in the summer 2021 and Action Plan by the end of 2021. 

Learn more about the digital divide, broadband, and why it’s important for everyone to get connected with SANDAG’s Broadband Equity and Digital Equity 101. SANDAG’s Broadband and Digital Divide Glossary provides helpful definitions of digital divide terms.

Local jurisdictions can adopt similar resolutions to demonstrate commitment to bridging the digital divide and to better position the region to take advantage of potential funding opportunities and partnerships. A sample resolution is available to help local jurisdictions take action.

Regional Digital Divide Taskforce 

In early 2021, SANDAG formed a Regional Digital Divide Taskforce to provide technical input on the development of the Regional Digital Equity Strategy and Action Plan. The taskforce consists of representatives from public agencies, broadband providers, and non-profit organizations that are actively working to bridge the digital divide. The Taskforce developed a regional framework and guiding principles to shape the development of the Regional Digital Equity Strategy and Action Plan.

Project Managers

Antoinette Meier, Director of Mobility and Innovation
Phone: (619) 699-7381, Email: antoinette.meier@sandag.org

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