Gold Country Broadband Consortium (GCBC)

The goal of the Gold Country Broadband Consortium (GCBC) is to increase digital access and use of broadband in designated counties in the Sierra Nevada: Nevada, Placer, El Dorado, Sierra, and eastern Alpine counties. 

The Gold Country Broadband Consortium is one of 11 regional consortiums in California funded by the California Advanced Services Fund Rural and Urban Regional Broadband Consortia grant program. GCBC was formed to leverage regional, state, and natural resources to launch public-private partnerships that will together improve and expand broadband access.   

2021 Last Mile Broadband Grant
Applications due March 1, 2021, at 5:00 pm

We’re pleased to announce that the application period for the 2021 Last-Mile Broadband Grant (due March 1, 2021, at 5:00 pm) is now open. The County of Nevada Board of Supervisors allocated $250,000 for this second round. Sierra Business Council will manage the grant application process on behalf of the County of Nevada.

  • Link to 2021 Guidelines here
  • Link to 2021 Application form here

The focus of the Nevada County 2021 Last-Mile Broadband Grant program is to provide resources to new and existing Internet Service Providers (ISP) to invest in building broadband infrastructure that supports economic development, public safety, remote learning, telehealth services, and overall community prosperity in Nevada County.

Last mile infrastructure refers to broadband infrastructure that serves as the final leg connecting the broadband service provider’s network to the end-use customer’s on-premise telecommunications equipment.

Funds will be targeted to areas that may be unlikely to receive broadband service without grant funding. The grant can provide up to 50% of a project’s infrastructure costs (project planning, permits, construction plans and labor, installation and testing, engineering, etc.). The maximum grant amount is $250,000. Multiple, smaller grants will be considered.

For more information, click here

To apply:

Please send application and all inquiries regarding this RFA in writing to:

Kari Sinoff, Project Manager, Sierra Business Council at

Please copy: Caleb Dardick, Projects Administrator, County Executive Office, at

Closing The Digital Divide

Broadband access has evolved into a basic need for all, yet many Californians have struggled with access to broadband in rural regions for years. These pockets of “unserved” or “underserved” populations in California are missing out on what is now seen as an amenity critical to quality of life and the term “digital divide” refers to the growing challenges for rural residents who lack access to broadband. 

Throughout our rural regions, connecting to broadband in the least populated areas is often cost prohibitive for internet service providers (ISP) due to sparsely populated communities and topography challenges. The largest ISPs argue that a breakeven point, let alone a profitable point, is not possible in these more remote areas. Services to those addresses beyond that middle mile area to the sparsely populated “last mile” are often bypassed. Alternative methods of accessing the internet via satellite or other modes of transmission can be less than ideal. Services that are installed in rural areas are expensive and often poor quality, meaning download and upload speeds are slow and unreliable. Beyond the rural inaccessibility issue there are also issues with affordability for disadvantaged communities.

This divide has enormous consequences. Today, internet service is an imperative tool for our education, health, local economy, emergency plans, and beyond. 

Speed Test Instructions: 

Your speed test helps GCBC document the gaps in the California Broadband Coverage MapWhile the California Broadband Map may indicate your home or business is served, a speed test will determine if your connection does not meet the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) broadband definition of 6 Mbps Down and 1 Mbps Up. 

First: Click here to take the CalSPEED test. It is important you use this test because it will automatically report the information to the CPUC. 

Next: Record your results in the form below. 

If you’re having difficulty taking the test or you don’t have the ability to get internet service at your home you can notify the CPUC directly by filling out the form available here and mailing it to the CPUC. Directions are available on the form. 

If you have any questions, please contact Kari Sinoff at (530) 562-4992 or

Thank you for your participation!


By filling out the above survey form you are consenting that your address may be shown as a point location on the California Broadband Map along with any details your submit regarding broadband service at that address. This information will be used for determining the availability of broadband in California and will be publicly accessible. Your name and email will not be disclosed on the map. If you have any concerns, questions, or comments, please email or call (415) 703- 5469. The California State privacy policy can be found at

Read more about this focus area:

Related Programs:

Martis Fund Homebuyer Assistance Program

In partnership with the Martis Fund, Sierra Business Council administers the Martis Fund Homebuyer Assistance Program, which provides down payment assistance to help income-qualified working families in Placer County east of Donner Summit or in the Town of Truckee purchase homes.

Read More »

Gold Country Broadband Consortium

The goal of the Gold Country Broadband Consortium (GCBC) is to increase digital access and use of broadband in designated counties in the Sierra Nevada: Nevada, Placer, El Dorado, Sierra, and eastern Alpine counties.

Read More »

Sierra Nevada Geotourism

Sierra Nevada Geotourism helps travelers experience the Sierra through the eyes of a local, learn about responsible recreation, and foster tourism-based economies in gateway communities. 

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Related Blogs:

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Rural Broadband: The New Silk Road

I’ll admit it, broadband is probably not a fascinating topic for most people. I’m willing to bet the only time people think about broadband is when they have a poor internet connection, and then they likely curse it.

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Join Us In Creating A More Resilient Sierra.

To learn more about this program, contact: