Today Jim Wood announced his appointment as the chair of the “Select Committee on the Digital Divide in Rural California”. The committee will address the challenges rural Californians experience obtaining, and in some cases maintaining, consistent levels of dependable telecommunication services. These services routinely involve cell phone coverage and high-speed internet.
Assemblyman Wood said, “I want to thank Speaker Atkins for this opportunity. I believe the inconsistency in access throughout the state is a growing problem, and it is contributing an additional dimension to our “digital divide.” At one time the “divide” was viewed as generally one that was generational or economic. I do not think we can ignore that geography now seems to be another significant contributing factor.”
The bi-partisan committee will meet in several locations over the course of the year as the committee gathers information on the subject and works to recommend reasonable solutions to identified problems
Reliable cell phone coverage is not just a convenience but in some instances an issue of safety. Additionally, for many high speed internet is about downloading movies or streaming T.V. shows, but in some areas it is far more basic than that. Schools need access to high-speed internet to administer mandatory exams. Where healthcare providers are not always readily available or within a reasonable driving distance, a diagnosis or consultation may only be available via telemedicine.” said Wood.