The Broadband Alliance of Santa Barbara County (Alliance) launched a countywide internet needs assessment survey and speed test campaign today for the public to self-report their internet experience and speed at home, work, or wherever they connect. The campaign is part of Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) effort with the Alliance to develop a countywide Broadband Strategic Plan aimed to better understand internet availability countywide and direct funding to projects that will increase affordable access to high-speed internet.
Data from the survey and speed test campaign will be mapped by GEO Software which is developed and licensed by Breaking Point Solutions, LLC and marketed by GEO Partners, LLC. The data will be used to identify areas in the county of low or no access to high-speed internet.
“The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light what many residents were already unnecessarily enduring, the lack of reliable and affordable access to internet,” said SBCAG Board of Directors Vice-Chair Jenelle Osborne, mayor of the City of Lompoc. “The broadband survey and speed test is vital to our efforts to advocate for fast, flexible, affordable, and reliable internet service for all residents and businesses in our county.”
The public is encouraged to go to www.sbcag.org/broadband to self-report their internet needs and take a speed test on a personal computer or laptop at home, work, or wherever they connect by May 31. Individuals can also identify areas with low or no service, or where access to the internet is unaffordable within this test. Those without internet access can call SBCAG at 1-805-961-8902 to report why they do not have internet access. The Broadband survey and speed test is available in English and Spanish. Privacy controls protect responses and anonymous participation is an option. Data collected will include the location, internet speed, and monthly internet cost.
“Each of us can do one very important thing to improve internet access and affordability. If your internet is too slow or unreliable or expensive, take the one-minute broadband internet survey and speed test before May 31,” said SBCAG Director Joan Hartmann, county supervisor. “This will allow us to validate where we have poor coverage. Help us take charge to improve affordable access to high-speed internet in our homes, schools, businesses, and libraries.
In December 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed historic legislation, Broadband for All, to advance the State’s commitment to bring affordable access to high-speed internet service across California. In Santa Barbara County an Alliance formed as a partnership between Santa Barbara County Association of Governments, Broadband Consortium of the Pacific Coast (BCPC), County of Santa Barbara and all eight cities, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and regional economic development organizations to collect data and information over five months related to the use, availability, and affordability of broadband internet throughout the region.
The information collected will be used to seek funding to improve affordable access to high-performing internet countywide with a goal to work toward digital inclusion.