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Broadband is a prime concern for the Inland Empire region. Reliable, affordable, and available high-speed internet access is extremely important for this diverse and vast geographic region.
The Inland Empire Regional Broadband Consortium (IERB) addresses broadband technology access, planning, service reliability, affordability, infrastructure requirements, cost and needs within both San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.
IERB is a group of 35 stakeholders, including both the County of San Bernardino and the County of Riverside, regional government agencies, and many cities in the Inland Empire. The Consortium also includes non-profits, libraries, schools and universities, health care providers, and technology and engineering businesses. IERB has many supporters in the region as well.
The Consortium represents a variety of urban, suburban, rural, mountain and desert interests in the region with strong concern and commitment to becoming a "smart region", closing the Digital Divide, and improving broadband speed, reliability, availability, and access in the Inland Empire.
IERB's Executive Committee Chair is Lea Deesing, Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Riverside and Executive Director of SmartRiverside. Jennifer Hilber, Chief Information Officer for the County of San Bernardino, Steve Reneker, CIO for the County of Riverside, and IT Consultant Kevin Crawford serve on the Executive Committee.
Martha van Rooijen is the Consortium's Executive Director.
IERB is funded through the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) Consortia Grant Account in order to provide collaborative broadband planning for San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.
A significant "Digital Divide" exists in the Inland Empire region where many residents are not able to access broadband internet service. This lack of access can be attributed to geographic issues, infrastructure, demographics, local and state policies, and community stakeholder involvement.
The need for a regional collaborative broadband strategy effort, as will be done by IERB, is critical in closing the Digital Divide within the Inland Empire region.
IERB's goal is to meet current and long-term broadband planning needs for the Inland Empire within both San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. IERB is taking the lead in coordinating strategic regional efforts to improve broadband infrastructure and access through projects, programs, policy and advocacy support in the Inland Empire.
IERB has focused its planning efforts on community and stakeholder involvement, in order to develop a Broadband Infrastructure and Access Plan for the Inland Empire Region.
The IERB Broadband Infrastructure and Access Plan focuses on the following issues:
- Needed capital improvement projects
- Programs which address underserved and disadvantaged residents
- Government Policy improvements and best practices
- Advocacy efforts and Grant Funding for the IERB region
- Economic Development and Broadband
- Smart Region policies, programs, and implementation
IERB's vision is that the Consortium's Broadband Plan will set regional broadband priorities, enhance economic vitality and growth and improve the quality of life within the Inland Empire to remove the "Digital Divide" by providing a collaborative opportunity for regional broadband infrastructure, access and program planning.
The Broadband Infrastructure and Access Plan establishes IERB as the lead strategic planning resource within the Inland Empire to help create a "smart region" and help achieve fast, reliable, accessible, available, and affordable broadband high-speed internet service available to every resident, business and stakeholder in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.
- Steve Reneker, former SmartRiverside Executive Director, discusses IERB Consortium's goal to help close the Digital Divide' in California: