In July 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed historic broadband legislation SB 156 (Chapter 112, Statutes of 2021), also known as the Middle Mile Broadband Initiative (MMBI), to expand California’s broadband fiber infrastructure and increase internet connectivity for families and businesses.
To support this effort, the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) was named as the third-party administrator, or TPA, responsible for developing the fiber network and creating rural exchange points. CENIC is a nonprofit corporation formed to provide high-bandwidth internet connections to California universities and research institutions, including the California community colleges.
The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office works in partnership with the California Community Colleges Technology Center and CENIC to provide internet connectivity to all California community colleges through the CalREN network. Through this partnership with CENIC, the Chancellor’s Office is able to provide access to online education and distance learning services for all students.
The system’s partnership with CENIC and support of their work on MMBI will create many benefits for students, ensuring that all students receive access to broadband internet and technologies in every rural, urban and tribal community. Ensuring that all California community college students have access to affordable broadband internet serves to help the system meet its larger goals outlined in the Vision for Success, particularly the goal of reducing equity gaps between regions and underserved communities.