Assemblymember Chris Holden Bridges the Digital Divide

Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act of 2006 Reform

For immediate release:

Sacramento, CA – Today, Assemblymember Chris Holden introduced AB 2748 that will update the Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act (DIVCA) of 2006, an outdated state law, to directly address modern issues with broadband connectivity, subscriber discrimination by telecommunications providers, and other digital equity barriers that effect Californian’s ability to access high-quality video and broadband services.

DIVCA was originally passed in 2006 to encourage competition in the cable market, with its intent to benefit consumers by lowering prices and promoting expansion of service, including broadband. Over 15 years, later it is clear that DIVCA has fallen short of its promises. For example, thousands of households across the state lack access to broadband service, even in urban areas where “donut holes” of service remain in areas that ought to be served by existing companies. Further, DIVCA’s outdated anti-discrimination statutes and a lack of focus around digital equity issues generate little incentive for providers to give equal service to low-income and unserved areas.

“At the end of the day, we know that affordable, reliable access to and high-quality broadband is necessity for living in the 21st century and that the digital divide is not just a rural problem but, an urban problem,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden. “This bill will help the state strengthen its oversight for cable internet service providers to ensure that Californians of any income level regardless of zip code have equal access to service. Even in my own district, there are households that are prevented from buying the highest quality of fiber internet service because of their address.”

This bill would leverage the state’s licensing authority over cable companies, who are among the largest internet service providers in the state, by obligating them to serve the public under the highest standards and in a manner that ensures equal access to service. This legislation builds upon the federal Digital Equity Act, passed as part of President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, as well as previous efforts in the state legislature to strengthen the state’s oversight of cable companies.