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View a pdf of this press release here.

Contact: Brittany-Rae Gregory

Next Century Cities Responds to

California Governor Newsom’s

Executive Order on the Digital Divide


Washington D.C. (October 12, 2020) – On August 14, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-73-20, which instructs California agencies to employ specific measures to bridge the existing digital divide among residents. On September 18th, the California Public Utilities Commission’s (“CPUC”) issued this Order Instituting Rulemaking to identify the short and medium-term actions required to accelerate broadband deployment. 

On behalf of member municipalities in California, Next Century Cities (“NCC”) submitted October 12th public comments before the CPUC. The filing includes local perspectives on successful broadband deployment strategies, reiterates the importance of network resiliency, and describes ways to improve broadband opportunities for California residents in low-income, redlined, and Tribal communities.

Tom Mullen, the Chief Data Officer for Riverside County, California, states: 

“The pandemic has shined a bright light on the ongoing struggle in many communities to gain access to high-speed broadband services and break through the digital divide. Old processes and programs need to be streamlined and updated to speed up how we overcome the problems so many now recognize in urban, suburban, and rural regions of our state of accessing online learning, connecting with health providers, and working from home.” 

NCC’s Corian Zacher, Policy Counsel for Local & State Initiatives, conveyed the following: 

“California is home to creative and resourceful local leaders who are developing some of the most exceptional innovations. Yet, across the state, broadband connectivity continues to be a challenge, particularly for people of color and  low-income populations. Local governments are addressing these challenges by seeking new ways to bridge the digital divide and connect all residents with high-quality, affordable broadband access. With additional support from the state, local officials can lead the charge in developing new solutions to tackle one of the biggest disparities facing California and our country.” 

Read Next Century Cities’ submitted public comments here


Next Century Cities is a non-profit organization of over 200 communities, founded to support communities and their elected leaders. Our membership includes mayors and other officials who are working to ensure that all have access to fast, affordable, and reliable internet access. For more information, visit www.nextcenturycities.org .