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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 IERB Consortium will be addressing broadband technology access, planning, service reliability, affordability, infrastructure requirements, cost and needs within both San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.
SmartRiverside spearheaded IERB and governs its activities as the Consortium's Fiscal Agent.
IERB is a group of 34 stakeholders, including both the Counties of San Bernardino and Riverside, many cities in the Inland Empire and others representing a variety of urban, suburban, rural, mountain and desert interests in the region with strong concern and commitment to becoming a "smart region", and improving broadband speed, reliability, and access in the Inland Empire.
The Consortium consists of local and regional government agencies, technology providers, non-profit organizations, health care providers, libraries, school districts, and businesses in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.
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 will focus 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 will focus on the following issues:
- Needed capital improvement projects
- Programs which address underserved and disadvantaged residents
- Government Policy improvements and best practices
- Advocacy efforts for the IERB region
- Smart Region policies, programs, and implementation
IERB's vision is that the 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 will establish IERB as the lead strategic planning resource within the Inland Empire to help create a "smart region" and help achieve fast, reliable, accessible 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: