The Inyo-Mono Broadband Consortium
The Inyo-Mono Broadband Consortium (IMBC) was formed in January 2016 with the goal of furthering broadband access and adoption throughout Inyo and Mono counties. The effort is a project of the Eastern Sierra Council of Governments (ESCOG) which is made up of Inyo County, Mono County, the City of Bishop, and Town of Mammoth Lakes.
The IMBC is part of the California Advanced Services Fund Consortia Program and receives funding from the Consortia Account.
The Eastern Sierra Council of Governments (ESCOG) was awarded another California Advanced Services Fund Grant for the IMBC on January 12, 2023. This iteration of the IMBC will facilitate the deployment of broadband services in Inyo and Mono counties by assisting with project development, grant applications, and projects related to state broadband programs. This grant will fund the IMBC for three years, beginning on February 1, 2023.
The previous incarnation of the IMBC, which was largely focused on broadband awareness and adoption, concluded in 2019. While broadband remained a priority for each of the agencies, the passing of SB 156 and AB 164, further renewed our commitment – despite a lack of staffing to support the necessary work to move our individual initiatives forward. CPUC Decision 22-05-029 presents a unique opportunity to restart the IMBC to focus on closing the broadband gaps and resolving challenges long-ago identified. This will be accomplished by leveraging Consortia Grant Account money to hire a Regional Broadband Coordinator who will assist with developing new broadband projects in the region.
More broadly, it is the intent of the IMBC to leverage the Consortia Grant Account funding along with Local Area Technical Assistance (LATA) and infrastructure funding to understand, design, and construct broadband projects. The Regional Broadband Coordinator would work with agencies to better understand broadband gaps, conceptualize new projects, and collaborate with interested providers to seek out grant funding to construct them. LATA funding would be leveraged to cover the costs associated with developing detailed engineering and perform environmental analysis as required by CEQA and NEPA with the goal of getting projects “shovel ready.” By leveraging money from the Federal Funding Account allocations to counties along with the CASF Infrastructure Account, it is our hope to achieve the ultimate vision of the IMBC: To develop and implement strategies which deliver cost-effective, gigabit or better broadband connectivity to every household and business in the Eastern Sierra.
Funding for this project has been provided in full or in part through a grant by the Rural and Urban Regional Broadband Consortia Grant Account of the California Advanced Services Fund, a program administered by the California Public Utilities Commission.
IMBC’S GOAL IS FOCUSED ON:
How Broadband in the Eastern Sierra can Benefit YOU.
The Inyo-Mono Broadband Consortium strives to build on the work of previous iterations of the Eastern Sierra Connect Regional Broadband Consortium and IMBC in supporting the expansion of existing broadband networks and the development of new broadband networks in order to provide fast, reliable broadband Internet service to communities, households and businesses in the Eastern Sierra.