Broadband Distribution and Quality of Service

Goal 1. Facilitate the distribution of the best broadband service possible, to as many users within community areas and key transportation corridors as possible, in a timely and cost- effective manner that minimizes impacts to visual and natural resources.

Objective 1.A. Work with providers to deliver the best service possible to Mono County residents, businesses, and visitors.

Policy 1.A.1. Providers shall develop new infrastructure projects using the best available technology that meets or exceeds current industry standards and is consistent with Goal 2.

Action 1.A.1.a. Providers shall meet or exceed standards set by the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) for “Served” communities.[1]

Action 1.A.1.b. Encourage new infrastructure projects to use high-capacity wireline solutions (such as Fiber-to-the-Premise). Providers should demonstrate a justification for alternative technologies requirements when wireline is impractical.

Policy 1.A.2. Providers shall develop and deliver services that improve accessibility to high-quality broadband while protecting consumers and ensuring fair and equal access to those utilizing services within the county.

Action 1.A.2.a. Ensure Internet Service Providers (ISPs) possess a current business license, and be current on all applicable franchise licenses, taxes, and fee payments. 

Action 1.A.2.b. ISPs shall furnish and uphold Customer Service Standards that provide privacy protection, clear service and billing procedures, reliability, or a similar service level agreement, and means by which to contest service not meeting said standards.

Action 1.A.2.c. The County should work with providers to establish and maintain consumer awareness information and materials. Periodically review and publish information on local providers based on service standards, including but not limited to coverage area, speeds, etc.

Objective 1.B. Deploy broadband to as many community areas and key transportation corridors as possible, and pursue additional providers to increase competition and improve quality of service.

Policy 1.B.1. Work with providers and other entities to develop projects that deliver broadband service to all communities.

Action 1.B.1.a. Establish and maintain a list of high-priority communities that can be referred to when providers are looking to build new projects.

Action 1.B.1.b. Actively seek out providers and other reasonable alternatives to establish broadband service in unserved communities throughout the county.

Action 1.B.1.c. Coordinate and work with Eastern Sierra Connect Regional Broadband Consortium (ESCRBC) and other entities to locate funding opportunities for providers interested in building projects in “unserved” and “underserved” communities.

Action 1.B.1.d. Pursue additional providers or other reasonable alternatives to improve the quality of service, competition, and reliability in communities throughout the county.

 Action 1.B.1.e. Look for opportunities to establish access to broadband in other rural or outlying areas for the purpose of enhancing health & safety or economic development purposes where traditional approaches or solutions are impractical.

Policy 1.B.2. Establish free WiFi in public spaces including County buildings, parks, community centers, and in commercial corridors in community areas.

Action 1.B.2.a. Provide free WiFi for public use in County offices and facilities.

Action 1.B.2.b. Work with service providers to establish free WiFi in commercial corridors and other public areas to support and promote local businesses.

Action 1.B.2.c. Limit speeds on public WiFi networks so as not to compete with residential or business connections offered by local service providers.

Design and Placement of Communications Infrastructure

Goal 2. Ensure deployment and implementation minimizes impacts to visual and natural resources. Provide development standards for communication infrastructure located throughout the county.

Objective 2.A. Minimize the impact on the environment and scenic resources of communications projects and infrastructure.

Policy 2.A.1. Providers shall utilize distribution practices that cause the least amount of long-term/significant environmental and visual impacts, including the use of design and screening tactics (also see Mono County Design Guidelines).

Action 2.A.1.a. Projects shall comply with requirements in Chapter 11, Section 11.010, of the Land Use Element.

Action 2.A.1.b. To support utilization of existing infrastructure and co-location, the County should maintain a database of existing communications infrastructure that can be referenced when evaluating projects and prior to permitting, and that is available to providers.

Action 2.A.1.c. Encourage placement of towers outside community areas.

Policy 2.A.2. Underground existing overhead infrastructure when possible. 

Action 2.A.2.a. Seek and utilize Rule 20, grant funds, public-private partnerships, or other creative funding opportunities, such as loans or mortgages, to underground infrastructure.

Action 2.A.2.b. Utilize a community-based public planning process to help identify and prioritize future undergrounding projects; review area plans for existing community direction.

Action 2.A.2.c. Establish an inventory and set of priorities for each community for future undergrounding projects based on areas of high preference or priority, as driven by public safety, reliability, community benefit (commercial cores, downtowns, etc.), or visual blight issues.

Action 2.A.2.d. Maintain an inventory of all underground districts and past funded projects in the county.

Policy 2.A.3. Utilize existing permit-review procedures, such as the Land Development Technical Advisory Committee, to ensure project compliance and engage interested County departments, including Information Technology (IT), and other stakeholders.

Objective 2.B. Develop and manage underground infrastructure as “basic infrastructure” that adheres to standards, is available for public use, and is managed as an asset in line with other public property.

Policy 2.B.1. Underground infrastructure shall be installed in accordance with standards specified in Chapter 11, 11.010, regarding placement, material, and method, and should adhere to other best practices.

Action 2.B.1.a. Conduit in public streets should be placed a minimum depth of three feet.

 Action 2.B.1.b. Conduit installed for the purposes of Middle-Mile or long-haul routes, or that is installed in major streets or arterials, should be the equivalent minimum of 4" in diameter.

Action 2.B.1.c. Conduit installed for the purposes of Last-Mile or distribution routes should be a minimum of 1½" in diameter.

Action 2.B.1.d. Conduit should be installed at the intersection of streets that is the equivalent of at least 4" in diameter and made accessible via vaults or similar appropriate means.

Action 2.B.1.e. Encourage the use of micro duct or similar technology in conduit installations so as to segregate providers.

Action 2.B.1.f. A reasonable amount of space shall be retained by the owner of the underground infrastructure for the purpose of potential future use.   

Action 3.B.1.g. Allow developers who install conduit to recover their costs through renting or leasing space in conduit at a fair and competitive price until the point that the cost of installation is paid off.

Strategic Planning for Communications Infrastructure

Goal 3. Plan for the improvement and expansion of the communications infrastructure network by seeking cost-effective and efficient solutions.

Objective 3.A. Utilize County property and rights of way, or other public spaces and resources, for communication sites or infrastructure.

Policy 3.A.1. The County shall provide sites or space for communication facilities, including cabinet structures, pedestals, antennas, etc. where appropriate and feasible.

Action 3.A.1.a. Develop and maintain an inventory of viable sites, permissible uses, associated costs, power and backhaul access, and other relevant information on County property and rights of way.

Action 3.A.1.b. Consolidate and co-locate facilities on County property or rights-of-way without interfering with County infrastructure, and design new facilities and projects taking into consideration future communication infrastructure.

Action 3.A.1.c. Review locations of Digital 395 Fiber Access Points (FAPs) within County rights of way and determine how providers may utilize or access FAP and install necessary infrastructure in right of way.

Policy 3.A.2. Projects conducted on County property, including rights of way, shall follow a 'Dig Once' objective.

Action 3.A.2.a Install conduit in public streets during construction/re-construction for future communications infrastructure use.

Action 3.A.2.b. Accommodate construction of conduit laterals leading to private property for potential future use.

Policy 3.A.3. Interested parties shall be notified of any opportunity for installing additional conduit or infrastructure in open trenches in County right of way.

Action 3.A.3.a. Look for opportunities to place new conduit through joint utility trenches.

Action 3.A.3.b. Require formal notification of utilities and interested parties of a joint trench opportunity prior to issuance of permit for construction work.

Action 3.A.3.c. Require installation of secondary or tertiary conduit whenever new conduit is being installed in public rights of way to accommodate future use/growth.

Policy 3.A.4. Underground infrastructure in County rights-of-way shall be accessible and remain available for use by qualified providers.

Action 3.A.4.a. Accept offers of dedication for underground infrastructure from private developers and maintain conduit in the public's interest.

Action 3.A.4.b. Work with special districts, quasi-public entities, or third-party companies and vendors for long-term ownership or management of underground conduit, so long as the infrastructure remains available to the public at a fair price and in an open and competitive manner.    

Policy 3.A.5. Leverage existing broadband infrastructure, including Digital 395, before constructing new infrastructure.

Action 3.A.5.a. Lease existing bandwidth, dark fiber, or conduit space from California Broadband Cooperative when network routes parallel Digital 395 infrastructure.

Policy 3.A.6. Collaborate with public land managers and other agencies to provide infrastructure locations consistent with Mono County’s policies and regulations.

Action 3.A.6.a. Encourage use of public land for site location and pursue opportunities with federal agencies, special districts, or local agencies.

Action 3.A.6.b. Work with land management agencies to ensure knowledge and understanding of future development plans, county General Plan policies and guidelines, and find opportunities to synchronize policies and objectives between entities.

Objective 3.B. Design communication infrastructure for future use into County projects.

Policy 3.B.1. Communication projects shall be added to the county Comprehensive Capital Facilities Plan for consideration through the established process for prioritization and funding.

Policy 3.B.2. The County shall consider communications conduit as a standard aspect of a street and shall take advantage of opportunities to install infrastructure when appropriate.

Action 3.B.2.a. Conduit shall be incorporated in the design and cost estimate phases of new street, sidewalk, or other related transportation projects.

Action 3.B.2.b. Establish dedicated revenue account(s) to be funded through leases or rents of County property for communications infrastructure, and to be made available for future conduit development and maintenance projects.

Action 3.B.2.c. When funding is not available for conduit, look for alternative sources including grants, special districts, public-private partnerships, private funding, or improvement district(s) in advance of actual construction effort.

Objective 3.C. Evaluate opportunities and establish a plan for future communications infrastructure needs and development opportunities.

Policy 3.C.1. Utilize existing committees, such as the Collaborative Planning Team, to coordinate and review communication development projects in neighboring jurisdictions or with a regional perspective.

Action 3.C.1.a. Work to develop a common set of standards and protocols for permitting, design, etc. that ensure consistency for providers and ensure the best delivery of service to our constituents.

Action 3.C.1.b. Evaluate Capital Improvement Plans (CIPs) for potential integration of broadband/communication projects. 

Policy 3.C.2. Work with the private sector to identify future projects.

Action 3.C.2.a. Work with cellular providers and third-party tower developers to gain an understanding of future development intentions.

Objective 3.D. Develop and maintain a comprehensive inventory of communications, and related infrastructure for planning purposes.

Policy 3.D.1. The County shall establish and maintain a GIS database containing information and data on existing infrastructure (basic infrastructure information is also located in the Master Environmental Assessment [MEA]). 

Action 3.D.1.a. Develop and maintain an inventory of communication infrastructure, capacity, and relevant characteristics for underground conduit, cell tower sites, and other facilities, with a focus on County properties and rights of way.

Action 3.D.1.b. Develop and maintain a list of priority “unserved” and “underserved” areas throughout Mono County in need of broadband and engage Last-Mile Providers with the intent of developing projects in those areas.

Action 3.D.1.c. Develop and maintain an inventory of cell phone coverage gaps, shadow areas, and potential locations (if identified).

Action 3.D.1.d. Catalog potential projects and future development plans in a GIS database for internal reference purposes and planning efforts.

Action 3.D.1.e. Acquire maps, data, and other relevant information from special districts and service districts throughout the county that provide service to local residents.

Action 3.D.1.f. Inventory and develop a publicly accessible dataset that contains the best known locations for infrastructure that may be used by future providers, as well as public sites anticipated to be problematic.

Objective 3.E. Improve and expand the communications network to meet critical public needs, improve government services, and support vibrant communities and local economies.

Policy 3.E.1. Leverage Digital 395 and other broadband and communications resources to improve public safety.

Action 3.E.1.a. Implement an Emergency Services Network using Digital 395 that connects the satellite facilities of emergency services personnel within Mono County, as well as surrounding jurisdictions with the intent of improving the exchange of information among all parties.

Action 3.E.1.b. Utilize the Emergency Services Network to improve Enhanced 911 services by coordinating information shared between dispatch and responders.

Policy 3.E.2. Improve cellular coverage area and establish redundant communications in communities.

Action 3.E.2.a. Direct future providers to key transportation corridors and community areas without cellular service due to coverage gaps or shadow areas. (See Action 3.D.1.c.)

Policy 3.E.3. Utilize Digital 395 and technology as a whole to improve government accountability and accessibility, improve efficiency, and reduce environmental and fiscal impacts.

Action 3.E.3.a. Develop and/or promote use of video conferencing, virtual meetings, a ride-share program, and other methods to reduce trips between County offices and to non-county locations.

Action 3.E.3.b. Budget for, install, and make available video conferencing equipment at County locations, such as community centers, libraries, and satellite offices.

Action 3.E.3.c. Utilize mobile data terminals or other similar computing devices to provide service to customers in the field.

Action 3.E.3.d. Explore and utilize paperless approaches for meetings, public information, and publication of reports, etc.

Action 3.E.3.e. Develop policies and guidelines for County staff to work remotely or telecommute when appropriate.

Action 3.E.3.f. Utilize the Internet, including websites, emails, and other similar communication vehicles to disseminate information to constituents and the general public.

Action 3.E.3.g. Provide access to public meetings via the Internet, "Public, Education, and Government (PEG) Access Channels", or other similar communication vehicles.

Policy 3.E.4. Develop a broadband economic development strategy for Mono County.

Action 3.E.4.a. Develop information and products including marketing collateral, white papers, case studies, and other relevant materials that can assist with the promotion of technology-focused business in Mono County.

Action 3.E.4.b. Develop a strategic outreach and marketing plan utilizing the developed materials and targeting technology-focused businesses.

Action 3.E.4.c. Promote telecommuting as a viable method allowing visitors to stay in the region longer and work remotely, and attract new permanent residents to relocate to the area and work from Mono County.

Action 3.E.4.d. Promote workforce development and educational opportunities to train local residents and stakeholders about benefits and uses of technology, focused on the expansion of existing business and development of new business ventures.

Action 3.E.4.e. Utilize the broadband network to attract new businesses and promote business development.

Policy 3.E.5. Perform a business opportunity analysis study.

Action 3.E.5.a. Evaluate locations in the county that would be viable for various types and sizes of new technology businesses.

Action 3.E.5.b. Evaluate issues, opportunities, and constraints pertaining to business development in various locations of the county.

Action 3.E.5.c. Consider changes to policies that may hinder or otherwise complicate development of technology or green business development, including waiving of permit or licensing fees.

Action 3.E.5.d. Evaluate broadband adoption and digital literacy programs and initiatives to support business retention and expansion.

Objective 3.F. Build support and funding for improving and expanding the communication infrastructure system through collaboration.

Policy 3.F.1. Support programs and initiatives that improve broadband adoption and digital literacy.

Action 3.F.1.a. Work with regional broadband consortia, state and national initiatives, and local service providers to offer broadband to low-income, at-risk, and under-/unserved populations.

Policy 3.F.2. Leverae and support the California Broadband Cooperative, Eastern Sierra Connect Regional Broadband Consortium, and other similar not-for-profit broadband organizations to help achieve County goals and objectives.

Action 3.F.2.a. Maintain a County seat on the Eastern Sierra Connect Regional Broadband Consortium and maintain the County’s interest in regional broadband development and adoption programs.

Action 3.F.2.b. Appoint a non-elected representative to the Board of Directors for the California Broadband Cooperative.

Policy 3.F.3. Seek grants and other funding opportunities for communication infrastructure projects consistent with these General Plan policies.

[1] California Advanced Services Fund is a division of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and is responsible for increasing broadband adoption in hard-to-reach areas of California. More information at