A group working to improve internet access and affordability throughout Santa Barbara County held a community forum on Tuesday in Santa Maria.
The Broadband Alliance of Santa Barbara County is working to develop a Broadband Strategic Plan to better understand and improve internet availability in the county.
"What is unique about this time is that the public sector, meaning our government agencies, are being asked to really participate in these conversations, so part of our work is really working with local jurisdictions in government and helping them understand what their role is as broadband funding becomes available," explained Maria Kelly, Broadband Alliance Project Coordinator.
Tuesday's forum was one of several community meetings planned over the next month:
- Santa Ynez - 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 27 at Community Services District, 1070 Faraday, Santa Ynez
- Guadalupe - 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 4, Guadalupe City Council Chambers, 918 Obispo St., Guadalupe. *Program in English with simultaneous interpretation in English and Spanish
- Guadalupe - 6 p.m., Wednesday, May 11, Guadalupe City Council Chambers, 918 Obispo St., Guadalupe. *Program in Spanish, with simultaneous interpretation in English and Spanish
- Orcutt - 6 p.m., Wednesday, May 18, Lakeview Elementary Multi-Use Room, 3700 Orcutt Road, Orcutt
- Buellton - 5:30 p.m., Thursday, May 19, Valley Elementary, 595 2nd Street, Buellton
- Solvang - 5:30 p.m., Thursday, May 26, Solvang City Hall, 1644 Oak Street, Solvang
Members of the public are invited to attend and share their experiences with internet service.
The Santa Barbara County Association of Governments is also asking community members to self-report their internet needs by taking an anonymous speed test online. People can also report by calling this number (805) 961-8902.