First Steps and Gratitude

By Amy Tong, State Chief Information Officer

November 19, 2021 — You don’t have to be State CIO to understand how technology touches every aspect of life, so much so that a strong internet connection has become a “need to have” not a “nice to have.” Like all of you, I gained firsthand experience with the importance of broadband speed as the pandemic unfolded. I navigated remote doctor appointments for my elderly mom and dad, online school for my teens and telework for me and my staff. My heart sinks when I think of parents who couldn’t provide a connection for their children’s education, people who received no medical attention at all because they lacked the means to get online, or others unable to hold jobs.

That’s why I’m so passionate about the goals laid out by our Governor to recognize broadband access, adoption, and training as essential components of digital equity and dignity. I’m thrilled and humbled to be part of California’s Middle-Mile Broadband Initiative that will provide needed infrastructure to expand digital access for everyone.

Multiple partners came together in unprecedented unity and took quick action to identify 18 initial projects to help the unserved and underserved. The projects also act as test cases as we prepare to expand the middle mile far beyond this initial reach. We expect to identify more locations by the end of this year, and begin implementation on the first 18 by spring of 2022. We couldn’t have done it without all hands on deck: the support and participation of the public, our Legislature, and our Governor. In this time of  giving thanks, I want to say “thank you” to my family, my CDT family, all of my broadband partners, as well as the people of California, for participating in and believing in Broadband For All.