People left in the slow lane of what was once billed as the information superhighway, may finally be able to dump the DSL and dial-up... and merge into graphics-heavy parts of the internet.
On Tuesday, officials from the Golden State Connect Authority told Sonoma County officials that an ambitious program to extend faster, broadband internet service into rural areas could break ground by the end of the year.
Barbara Hayes is with the Rural County Representatives of California. That's an organization representing most non-urban counties in the state...she outlined the problem to the Board of Supervisors.
"The current model that has existed in rural California was not working for rural California, and that really relying solely on private companies to deliver broadband."
That's because extending infrastructure such as fiber-optic lines isn't cheap. With fewer potential customers in rural areas, companies have been unwilling to gamble.
"Rural California does not fit the private sector provider model for broadband."
With many critical parts of education, government and commerce more reachable online than by phone in recent years, addressing the so-called digital divide has become a priority for policymakers.
And it's why state and federal money has been made available.
Though budgets are tightening in Sacramento, and funding promised earlier is being re-allocated, Haynes said she's confident Washington will come through.