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Sen. Jean Fuller Recognizes OCED for Role in New Exeter Kids Computer Lab


The San Joaquin Valley Regional Broadband Consortium is an initiative of the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley, and is administered by OCED. SJVRBC works to close the digital divide – the gap between those with internet access and those without – and partners with many internet service providers to assist households in connecting with low-cost broadband services. Last month, SJVRBC helped make a different type of connection: the consortium helped identify a community for the establishment of a new computer lab.

When representatives from the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) approached SJVRBC Director Eduardo Gonzalez to assist in identifying a location for a new computer lab, made possible by a donation from Frontier Communications, he immediately knew which local communities have the lowest broadband connection rates: rural, difficult to reach communities without access to essential services that broadband provides (e.g., the ability to complete homework, employment applications, access government services and participate in in the digital economy). Gonzalez says that while internet "dead zones" used to be rampant throughout the San Joaquin Valley, broadband infrastructure is now expanding, thanks to companies like Frontier Communications. He was able to provide CETF with a shortlist of local communities where broadband access is lowest, and Frontier progressed from there.

Frontier used this information to select the Boys and Girls Club of Exeter as the beneficiary of a new public WiFi hotspot and computer lab. Frontier donated the hotspot and eight computers for the Club's youth, and officially opened the lab at a ribbon cutting ceremony on June 22. California State Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) was in attendance to show appreciation to Frontier and SJVRBC for their efforts. The hotspot and computer lab are available for children at the Club and provide internet and digital literacy training.

For more information on SJVRBC and its work to help close the digital divide, or to learn about low-cost internet services, contact the Fresno State SJVRBC Call Center at (559) 278-0702.