SANTA YNEZ, Calif. – The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and the Economic Alliance Foundation (EconAlliance) were awarded nearly $445,000 in federal funding to produce a Northern Santa Barbara County Fiber Ring Broadband Strategy and Business Plan.
“Partnering with EconAlliance on this project and receiving this federal grant brings us closer to improving internet access throughout Northern Santa Barbara County," said Kenneth Kahn, Tribal Chairman for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.
"We look forward to producing a sound plan and working with area cities to make broadband connectivity a reality in our community.”
Most of the funding will be used to obtain a telecom consultant to identify and assess two routes for a fiber ring addressing the "middle mile" broadband needs of the five cities and multiple unincorporated areas in North County, said Santa Ynez Chumash spokesman Mike Traphagen.
Some of the grant assessment work will include market analysis and business plan analyzing route construction, operations, and governance options to determine recommendations, Traphagen said.
The Santa Ynez Chumash and EconAlliance have helped launch a broadband study and analysis efforts in North County, and are both part of the Santa Barbara County Broadband Strategy Project Team that works closely with the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments and others to integrate countywide broadband planning efforts.
“This is great news for efforts to increase affordable access to high-performing internet access in areas where it matters the most,” said Marjie Kirn, executive director of SBCAG.
“Funding like this strengthens the partnerships we have in place to make our communities better and improve lives. We commend the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and EconAlliance for looking beyond what’s next for our region. Together, we remain committed to finishing the countywide vision for broadband by this fall.”