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Assemblymember Holden’s Bill to Bridge the Digital Divide Passes The Assembly Floor and Heads To The Senate

For immediate release:

Sacramento, CA – This week, Assemblymember Chris Holden’s legislation, AB 41, The Digital Equity in Video Franchising Act of 2023, which would bridge the digital divide and address accessibility, quality, and affordability of cable holder’s services, passed the Assembly Floor and is headed to the Senate.

“At the end of the day, we know that affordable, reliable access to and high-quality broadband is a 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.

The Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act (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 17 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 Further, DIVCA’s outdated anti-discrimination statutes and a lack of focus around digital equity issues generate little incentive for providers to give equal service to low-income and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.

AB 41 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.

“Right here in my very own district, there are households that are prevented from buying the highest quality of fiber internet service because of their address. If we don’t take the necessary steps to get ahead of inequality and bridge the digital divide, it’ll only get worse,” said Holden.