Broadband master plan to be discussed at Chico Council meeting

CHICO — A broadband master plan has been developed for the city of Chico and will be presented Tuesday during the upcoming city council meeting.

City staff is recommending that the council approve an appropriation of $4.55 million from American Rescue Plan funding to begin implementing the master plan going forward.

The plan was created in partnership between the city and EntryPoint Networks, a consulting firm.

A major focus of the plan will be removing gaps in the broadband network that exist throughout the city and its sphere of influence.

“Broadband gaps exist in Chico because the existing delivery models treat broadband access as an amenity rather than a necessity,” said the master plan summary. “Even though reliable internet is now necessary for access to educational systems, economic activities, healthcare, public safety systems, and many other cultural and societal interactions, the history of the industry and the orientation of private capital are structured to maximize profits.”

The partnership began in April to aim for a lowered cost of fast and reliable internet for Chico residents.

According to the plan’s summary, other goals of the plan consist of enabling additional service provider options and pursuing infrastructure that can help with internet speed.

“Favoring profits over treating broadband as essential infrastructure has enabled industry-wide resistance to infrastructure improvements and digital redlining which is a practice that privileges some neighborhoods and leaves others unserved or underserved,” the plan said. “Further, the practices and policies of the industry have trended toward enabling private monopoly providers which perpetuates inequities for marginalized groups in the use of digital technologies, digital content, and the internet.”

Other business

The Chico City Council approved $150,000 from the American Rescue Plan in August to go toward programs specifically designed to cater to the youth in Chico.

At the upcoming meeting, City Manager Mark Orme will be recommending that the city allocate the grants as follows:

  • Boys and Girls Club of the North Valley: $75,000
  • The Salvation Army: $50,000
  • Girls on the Run of the North State: $17,201
  • North State Composite Mountain Bike Team: $7,799

According to the related agenda report, the organizations that were not picked consisted of the Butte County Office of Education, the CARE Team and the Chico Air Museum.

Mayor Andrew Coolidge is requesting a council discussion regarding the city’s 150th birthday celebration.

Due to the statewide mask mandate, the meeting will be available via Zoom through the city’s website as well as channel 11.

The Chico City Council mostly meets at 6 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 421 Main St. Meetings are free and open to the public.

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