VHB is partnering with the Golden State Finance Authority (GSFA) and Tilson Technology to develop Broadband Strategic Plans for 22 California counties, encompassing vastly diverse regions of the state and areas such as Yosemite National Park and the Napa Valley wine region. As a key part of the larger broadband plans, VHB will simultaneously develop Smart Community Applications Plans for each county, each of whom offer a unique set of technological needs, challenges, and long-term goals. Smart communities offer technology infrastructure that analyzes real-time data to enhance public services and improve the lives of its residents. Examples include building digital twins to enhance emergency response, street lighting that lowers energy cost and consumption, and transportation infrastructure to support connectivity of automatic electric aircraft and motor vehicles.
Each Smart Community Applications Plan will outline options for using technology to enhance sustainability, resilience, and equity, along with recommended actions and benefits with strategies that address focused areas such as traffic signalization and safety; wildfire alerts; public wi-fi; smart parking, metering, and wayfinding; zero emission vehicle (ZEV) and electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure; and smart city policy development. The Broadband Strategic Plans and Smart Community Applications Plans include business community outreach and needs assessment for each county. Through stakeholder engagement, the VHB team will gather insight into broadband availability, satisfaction levels, and challenges of current broadband service options.