About Us

Thanks for visiting the home and blog for the Mendocino Coast Broadband Alliance.

We are a small volunteer group working to bring high speed Internet access to currently unserved parts of the Mendocino coast in northern California since March 2007. Outer Mendocino Village, Little River, Albion, and Navarro Ridge are the primary focus, although we help the other areas from Westport to Gualala and Boonville with logistics.

A project area map of unserved areas can be reviewed on this page. MCBA gathered on-the-ground data which was then overlaid on the CPUC map of broadband availability. MCBA challenged the CPUC map to show that the availability and served residences claimed is not reality. This is significant since this is the map the State and Federal governments refer to when determining what areas should get funding for broadband deployment.

MCBA has been a partner with the County of Mendocino since late 2007, and hosted the joint Broadband Conference in April 2008 for well over 100 people. That conference brought together stakeholders from all over the County to learn about not only the needs of businesses and residents, but current efforts by all parties to make this a reality. The Office of Education was another partner for the conference to explain their e-Rate program and speak to future possibility of that expansive network of Internet access being used by the public during non-school hours. The Albion School is not on that network currently but is planned to receive a T1 line.

At the Conference, principals of the District Hospital, College of the Redwoods, and County Library participated in the afternoon breakout sessions to let the groups know what the opportunities can be with broadband, and why it is a critical need for all residences to be up to speed – NEXT GENERATION SPEED! Telemedicine needs high quality video conferencing capabilities in Fort Bragg and in every home in an isolated rural area. Online education is a must in this area where most residents are 20-50 minutes (and more for some areas) away from the College and the nearest wifi hot spot or library. As of March 2010, there is a possibility for the mid-Coast to have a Virtual Library Station which would have broadband and many library services available.

E-Commerce was an important topic since the economic development of the County is the major driver and a major need as the resource-based businesses (lumbering and fishing) decrease. Displaced workers need new training and jobs. Representatives from the Small Business Development Center and Fort Bragg Economic Development Committee listened to problems of business owners without high speed and their specific needs. Small and home-based businesses could flourish in this rural environment if they could compete with slick websites, and not have to drive to town to do much of their work. Real estate is another critical area of need since younger home buyers will not buy a house without access, and most areas of the Coast, and County, have only dial up.

Demand aggregation is a necessary ingredient and many participated in creative discussion on how this can happen. It is a bit tricky to help people understand they need what they do not know about. Policy and permitting needs were discussed by the Planning and Building Director of the County. Legislative Advocacy was another topic discussed to let people know what the CEO was doing and what the population can do. Funding opportunities were explored.
MCBA continues to explore every avenue to bring high speed Internet to the unserved. On February 9, 2010, The Board of Supervisors passed a Resolution to make broadband access a priority work project.
The Community Foundation of Mendocino County has adopted economic development as their priority issue to work on in 2010 with deployment of broadband to all County residences and businesses as the first and foremost need. This is a most welcome and beneficial partnership!

In August 2010. the Economic Development and Financing Corporation joined the effort and organized an Ad Hoc committee on behalf of the County of Mendocino to work on realizing the goal of high speed internet for all businesses and residences.  Members include the Community Foundation of Mendocino County and representatives of all parts of the County to work together toward a county-wide solution.

YES – TOGETHER WE CAN GET HIGH SPEED INTERNET!

Do let us hear from you with suggestions and tips – Shirley Freriks – sfreriks@mcn.org

MCBA Purpose and Strategy Statement – revised March 2010

Purpose StatementTo facilitate the establishment of an affordable, reliable, ubiquitous high speed Internet access pilot project for the unserved and underserved residences and businesses on the Mendocino Coast to next generation bandwidth levels in order to enrich individual lives, enable digital equality, and energize the economies of local communities and Mendocino County.

MCBA Strategy Statement – We will achieve our purpose by:

  • advocating/lobbying/educating Legislators and County, State and Federal officials on supportive legislation, policies and permits
  • researching emerging technology sources and providers in order to supply broadband infrastructure backbone and distribution for middle and last mile needs
  • educating businesses, institutions, and the public on the value and necessity of broadband to drive demand, and offer ways they can give voice to their need
  • partnering with local and County officials, Community Foundation of Mendocino County, Humboldt Area Foundation, RCRA, other appropriate agencies, commissions and entities as advisors and advocates for local needs
  • tracking FCC broadband plan development, as well as broadband advocacy and lobbying groups to gain national perspective, plus pertinent legislation
  • securing funding from private and/or public sources to support the work
  • leveraging the connections already made to continue a coherent forward direction
  • launching a public awareness and marketing campaign for demand aggregation and pre-registration of services when the time comes
  • updating and enhancing the website http://www.mendocinocoastbroadband.org

MCBA was incorporated as a 501(C)(4) in 2009 as part of our strategy to position the organization to be prepared for forming an entity to bring broadband to the Coast.   The Board consists of President Shirley Freriks, Vice President Rod Lorimer, Treasurer-Secretary Jim Moorehead, and members Bob Coppock, Steve Drake and Ted Williams.

Please leave us your comments and questions. Thanks for stopping by.

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