Mono and Inyo Counties enjoy access to word class, high-speed Internet thanks to Digital 395, a 450 mile long, 432 strand, middle-mile fiber optic network that runs from Barstow, California to Carson City, Nevada. Digital 395 changed the broadband landscape in the Eastern Sierra in ways that most of us still cannot grasp or fully appreciate. While there are still isolated pockets and communities which are working toward high-speed Internet, the majority of residents and businesses in the Eastern Sierra have access to broadband speeds that surpass most major cities in the United States. Today, nearly 100% of Mono County has access to Gigabit Internet, along with an ever increasing amount of Inyo County.
What is Broadband?
Broadband is defined as a high-capacity transmission technique, using a wide range of frequencies, which enables a large number of messages to be communicated simultaneously.  On a Federal level the FCC defines it as a download speed of 25mbps and an upload speed of 3mbps (25/3mbps). In our state, the California Public Utilities Commission defines it as a download speed of 6mbps and an upload speed of 3mbps (1.5/3mbps).
About Digital 395
One of the most sophisticated networks in the United States, Digital 395 was constructed in 2013 and is capable of delivering Petabytes of data to the Eastern Sierra.
Funded by the the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program out of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act and the California Advanced Service Fund, this $120m project constructed 620 miles of fiber following the Highway 395 corridor between Barstow, CA and Carson City, NV. The network was designed to:
- Establish a middle-mile network to bring much-needed backhual into the region; and
- Connect approximately 250 Government, Education, and Medical anchor institutions along the route.
The network consists of 432 strands of fiber and was built as a 100 year network which is capable of delivering on today’s needs and scaling for the future.
Who Benefits from Broadband in the Eastern Sierra?
Broadband access benefits everyone living in the region from families and students, to hospitals, first responders, local businesses, and governments.
Our region’s high-speed Internet improves quality of life for all of us as well as increases digital literacy and access to education, government, and entertainment. Imagine children doing their homework in the park, or elderly or disabled patients using telemedicine to access home-health care and telemedicine. Digital 395 diversifies our economy, will prevent brain drain, and gives the Eastern Sierra a competitive advantage for attracting new visitors, businesses, and residents.
Eastern Sierrans enjoy the same high-speed access as residents in major American cities. This means that home entertainment, like streaming Netflix or Hulu, is fast and reliable. Likewise, tech workers can telecommute from our region with the assurance that their connections are quick and secure.
Thanks to Digital 395, all Mono County Schools have had Gigabit Internet since the summer of 2015. This service supports 1:1 technology programs and expands distance learning opportunities both in primary grades and at high school and university levels. It also means families and students have top-quality Internet to access, complete, and send their work.
Mono County Hospital is the region’s first Gigabit hospital and uses state of the art telemedicine to provide healthcare to residents of the Eastern Sierra. Broadband also means faster and more reliable access for patients to use home health monitoring as well as a secure platform for emergency communications for when cell service is out or natural disasters like fires might bring down services.
Broadband increases our region’s competitiveness and economic potential. With our proximity to Los Angeles and Reno, Digital 395 gives us better economies of scale like faster and more reliable Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIPs), Points of Sale (POS), and data storage. Tech businesses and telecommuters have state of the art broadband, improving video conferencing quality and reducing the need for travel away from the region. Such capability will attract new businesses and diversify our economic base.
The Eastern Sierra have unique qualities to offer. Our broadband can help businesses leverage technology to improve reach and engagement. As the recreation hub of the region, local businesses and their customers benefit from our world-class Internet. The Connected Eastern Sierra program, also allows participants to highlight their high-speed public WIFI, meeting the expectation of visitors in a tourism-based economy.
GOVERNMENT, TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS & NON-PROFITS
Non-Profits and regional and tribal governments enjoy all of the same benefits as individuals and businesses in the region. Access to Digital 395 improves engagement, transparency, and communication with constituents and increases digital inclusion of public services. Mono and Inyo Counties are predominantly rural meaning long drive times or citizens who might not be able to leave their homes due to weather, age, or for health reasons. Broadband in our region allows for improved eGovernment and digital access to emergency communications, telemedicine, and elected representatives.
Get access and reach out to resources to help you connect. Check out the Broadband Access Tool.
 “Broadband.” Def.1. OxfordDictionaries.com. Oxford Dictionaries. Web. 11 Jan. 2018.