Digital Divide in Sonoma County

Impact on Communication

911 Emergency Calls

911 Failure experienced in West County in May, 2013 was due to a lack of redundancy in the telephone network connecting to redundant fiber. An eight-­‐mile fiber interconnection between Verizon and ATT exchanges at Sea Ranch and Gualala would solve the problem for 3,000 households and first responders impacted by the outage.

Cell Phone Connectivity

Cell phone connectivity in Western Sonoma County is problematic – Verizon service is available in some areas, ATT in others. Carriers cannot claim seamless universal service to West County. ATT has announced the co-location of a cell transmission site on a new tower at Sea Ranch. Verizon continues to improve their service footprint in West County although gaps in coverage still exist. Additional tower sites are needed along the scenic Highway One corridor.

Impact on Education

El Molino High School

El Molino a 635 student campus was previously served with a T1 - 1.5 mbps bandwidth broadband connection has been upgraded to a 20 mbps connection recently. SCOE reports the school will be again upgraded in June to a 50 mbps threshold. Analy HS in Sebastopol currently enjoys a 100 mbps connection.

Horicon School

Recently with the completion of a fiber installation Horicon School in Anapolis was able to abandon their copper connection at slow speeds and move to the 21st Century with high speed and affordable bandwidth. Students now can take advantage of iPad tablets the school was awarded in a recent grant.

Fort Ross School

Fort Ross School, regrettably still is connected to the internet with a T1 - 1.5 mbps connection as there is not access to the fiber cable which is located within a few feet of this rural school.

Kashia School

Connects to the internet via a T1 connection with extremely slow connection and limited bandwidth.

Impact on Communities

Bodega Bay

The community of Bodega Bay, with broadband service supplied by Comcast and ATT has little or no wireless cell phone connectivity.

Timber Cove

Very limited and slow DSL has now been introduced to the community by Verizon. Community is underserved by state definition as speeds fall far below state minimums of 6 mbps down and 1.5 mbps up.

Jenner, Cazadero, Joy Road and The Sea Ranch

Have been identified as four communities in Sonoma County to be prioritized to the California State Public Utilities Commission to be considered for broadband infrastructure expansion and funding. There are over 130 communities in the state within this tier of escalation and not sufficient funding available to correct the situation in all communities. The state Public Utilities Commission analysts are evaluating each project in order to establish ranking for funding.

Valley Ford

The community of Valley Ford relies on either dial up or satellite for individual connectivity – yet ATT supplies their Central Office with fiber.

Kashia Band of Pomo’s

The Kashia Band of Pomo’s has one T1 line at $400 per month supplying their Rancheria Headquarters and one T1 line at $400 per month servicing a school with 9 students. Satellite service is unavailable due to trees and mountains obstructing a window to the sky.

Dry Creek Valley and Alexander Valley

Wireless (over the air) connectivity is available from a transmitter tower to line of sight locations in many areas. Speeds will vary dependent upon location, terrain and weather conditions.

Joy Road Homeowners Association

Joy Road Homeowners Association, just southwest of Occidental, consisting of approximately 350 residences in Western Sonoma County relies upon a WISP (2 mbps) for line of sight service. Those without line of sight rely on satellite (if window to sky is available), expensive cell phone tethering (if signal is adequate) or dial up. This area on maps shows as being served, but is not.

Sonoma Valley

Similar situations abound for residents and businesses in the Sonoma Valley. Comcast may not have expanded service commensurate with population growth in conformance with franchise agreements.

Access Sonoma Broadband Badge

Contact Information

141 Stony Circle
Suite 110
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
38.440161, -122.745781

Take the CPUC Broadband Survey


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