The California Broadband Initiative was established in 2006 to implement the state's broadband policy. This led to the creation of the California Broadband Task Force, which produced a report on broadband service availability. It found that 96% of households had access to basic broadband internet services, making it the leading state in terms of availability. However, almost half of households didn't use broadband and almost 2000 communities had no high speed internet service at all, covering 1.4 million people in mainly rural areas.
The Speed Matters survey put average download speeds at 6.6 mbps in 2009, ranking the state 10th. This was a significant improvement on the previous year, when the state was 22nd with a speed of 4.1 mbps. The California Broadband Task Force report found that deployment was uneven. It has developed maps of broadband availability, both for wired and wireless internet access, with data supplied by internet providers operating throughout the state. Wifi availability is particularly spasmodic and largely confined to urban areas. Recommendations included to improve the DSL infrastructure, increase use and adoption and encourage each internet provider to collaborate with others.
A fiber collaboration database is available so that any ISP can view upcoming fiber optic cable projects and California is one of the sixteen states where Verizon has a presence. The state was due to report in October 2009 on broadband projects that would apply under the federal stimulus funding program, which has a total of $4.7 billion available through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program.
The Golden State is the third largest by area and has the biggest population of all the states. It contains eight of the nation's fifty largest cities, with California's four biggest being Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco. Sacramento, the state capital, ranks seventh.
Due to its size, California has a varied climate that ranges from Mediterranean to sub arctic. It also has a diverse geography, with Mount Whitney being the highest point in the contiguous US and Death Valley being the lowest (as well as the hottest).
The state grew dramatically during the Gold Rush in the 19th century and it is now the center of the American entertainment industry. The Central Valley produces around one third of the nation's food and around one quarter of the country's container traffic goes through the seaport formed by the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
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Cities in California likely to have, or soon to receive, fiber optic cable internet services include Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Long Beach, Sacramento, Oakland, Santa Ana, Anaheim, Bakersfield, Riverside, Stockton, Chula Vista, Fremont, Irvine, Modesto, Glendale, San Bernardino, Huntington Beach, Oxnard, Fontana, Moreno Valley, Oceanside, Rancho Cucamonga, Santa Clarita, Garden Grove, Ontario, Pomona, Santa Rosa, Salinas, Palmdale, Hayward, Pasadena, Torrance, Corona, Lancaster, Escondido, Orange, Elk Grove, Sunnyvale, Fullerton, Thousand Oaks, El Monte, Simi Valley, Concord, Visalia, Vallejo, Inglewood, Santa Clara, Costa Mesa, Downey, West Covina, Roseville, Norwalk, Victorville, San Buenaventura (Ventura), Burbank, Berkeley, Daly City, Fairfield, Carlsbad, Richmond, South Gate and Temecula. Locations in CA with highest population counts will be targeted first by providers, though relatively high speeds can be achieved with dial-up or DSL through companies such as Netzero and Charter Communications Cable.