IMPERIAL - The Imperial Valley Quarterly Economics Roundtable discussion was hosted Friday at the Farm Credit Services building and featured a presentation by the Southern Border Broadband Consortium (SBBC). The event began with a welcome breakfast and networking, followed by presentations of its members and several coordinators.
“This is the Southern Border Broadband Consortium and we were created to offer affordable broadband to unserved and underserved areas in the Imperial and San Diego counties. Imperial County Office of Education (ICOE) will bring broadband to schools and we will take it the extra mile to make sure other people get broadband connectivity, too,” said Glenna Barrett, the SBBC coordinator.
SBBC announced it is working to promote awareness in the Imperial Valley to help improve broadband connectivity for the public.
“We are focusing on public works, the community, and internet service providers to get information and partnerships to get broadband for everyone. Without broadband, you don’t have access to capital, you can’t go to school online, or sell products online. You’re very limited to options without internet. At this point, it’s not a want, but rather a need,” said Barrett.
The money funding SBBC stems from a grant funded with money collected from service providers to improve broadband connectivity throughout California.
“This particular initiative is being funded by the California Emerging Technologies Fund, the CETF, and it is through legislation. The money is collected through our service providers and that money goes back to find ways we can improve the internet,” said Timothy E. Kelley, president and CEO of the Imperial Valley Economics Development Corporation.
Sponsors said that without proper funding, it is easy for underserved communities to technologically fall behind in with the world.
“The importance here is that, in order to stay globally competitive, we must improve education, services, and emergency medical activities. Without broadband, it is difficult to do that, and as everything becomes connected we have to have access to that connectivity,” explained Kelley.
With the help of several funding groups, SBBC is promoting awareness to improve the access of broadband connectivity.
“The importance here is to put a focus on the unserved and underserved communities around. Those who have the greatest need are also the hardest to serve, more expensive, and more remote. This helps us to put an emphasis on those communities,” said Kelley.