April 27, 2023 – MMBI partners have made significant progress on delivering the middle-mile infrastructure that will enable a high-speed connection for underserved and unserved Californians, tribal nations, historically disadvantaged communities, and those in remote areas.
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) provided an update to the Middle-Mile Advisory Committee on 20 miles of construction already underway on “dig smart” portions of the network, where existing Caltrans projects allow for easy installation of the cable.
Additionally, Caltrans sealed the deal on five Job Order Contracts (JOC) that will enable construction crews to get to work on segments across the state as additional projects complete the permitting and design process.
The five regional JOC Master Agreements lock in up to 5,200 miles of construction services. In collaboration with the California Department of Technology, Caltrans made awards by region to the lowest responsive and responsible bidders. As permits and design are completed, Caltrans is expected to begin releasing work authorizations against the JOCs as early as June 2023.
|Region||Location||Maximum Contract Amount||Miles
|Region 1||Northern California||$778.5 million||1,860||Teichert Energy & Utilities Groups, Inc.|
|Region 2||Capital Area-
Inclusive of Bay Area to Nevada border
|$421.6 million||1,300||Ghilotti Bros and St. Francis Electric, JV|
|Region 3||Central Valley||$247.9 million||950||HP Communications, Inc.|
|Region 4||Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura Counties||$352 million||800||HP Communications, Inc.|
|Region 5||Imperial, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego Counties||$67.3 million||290||Griffith Company-Henkels & McCoy Joint Venture|
Innovative Procurement and Network Optimization
Following extensive analysis of the network and receipt of innovative procurement proposals, the MMBI team determined that when building is not feasible, leasing existing dark fiber will allow for faster and more cost-effective completion of the network. Leases deliver the same 288 high-speed cable with full access for last-mile ISPs, generally run for 20 years, and are negotiated with multiple extension periods of five to 10 years or the life of the fiber.
The MMBI team anticipates up to 50 percent of the MMBI network may be leased, approximately 45 percent may be built by Caltrans or through joint builds, and the final 5 percent may be purchased. Adjusting the percentage of lease vs. build will bring the same high-quality, high-speed, and reliable service more quickly to the unserved and underserved creating digital equity for all Californians.
Since Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 156 into law in July 2021, the state has fast-tracked the development of the middle-mile broadband network to ensure Californians can benefit from the opportunities provided by increased broadband access, which is critical to achieving digital equity and inclusion in the state.
Senate Bill 156, sponsored by Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, included $3.25 billion to develop a statewide, open access, state-owned Middle Mile broadband network – high-capacity fiber lines that carry larger amounts of data at higher speeds over longer distances between local networks and the world. The 2022 budget package allocated an additional $550 million in future General Fund resources for the Middle Mile Broadband Initiative.
It is estimated that one in five Californians does not have an adequate internet connection. Once the Middle Mile network is complete, local carriers will have access to the network to provide communities with direct service to homes and businesses, as well as reduced-cost or free broadband internet service for those who are eligible.