Why is this important?
Adequate communications are important for public safety,
business and commerce, education, and government.
Data services are rapidly moving to wireless technology
and becoming faster. Today, more than ever, all aspects of
everyday life are dependent on communications technology.
What is the measure?
Indicators for communications growth are the
penetration of cable television and digital subscriber
line (DSL) service and the number of towers/antennas
identified and proposed for wireless technology.
How are we doing?
Telephone services for the county are provided by SBC
and Frontier/Citizens Communications.
Comcast is the major franchise for cable television services,
offering 34 regular cable channels, 110 digital channels,
and 8 pay-per-view channels. Comcast currently provides
"broadband" service in one direction only (video
signals to the subscriber). It has approximately 52%
penetration of the potential 21,500 connections (such as
households, apartments, motel rooms, and businesses
in its service area).
DSL is only available within approximately three cabled
miles of the major service providers’ (Mother Lode
Internet, Sonnet, Goldrush, and SBC) central offices in
Sonora, Twain Harte, and Jamestown. About 12% of the
subscribers in the service areas receive DSL.
Wireless services are provided by cellular and internet
service providers (ISP’s). These providers use existing cell
towers for their service and can also lease space on towers
owned by others. The vast diversity of geography in the
county presents challenges to these providers, because
wireless technology is by line of sight to the antennae.
Thirteen towers are located in the county; 45 antennas and
4 cell phone towers are proposed.
The dependency on this technology has dramatically
increased in the last few years as the population demands
more goods and services at their fingertips. However, the
demand is not met by the current services.