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    Don’t we already have the Internet in Riverside County?

    Sure, we have Internet service. But how good is it where you live? The effectiveness of an Internet service is measured against the speed at which it passes data, either from the Internet to you (Download) or from you to the Internet (Upload.) This data is measured in bits per second. Just six years ago, the standard set by the FCC was 4 Mbps (four megabits per second, or four million bit sent per second.) That data rate falls far short of what one device requires today and the new standard for high-speed Broadband is now 25 Mbps, yet within Riverside County – and the rest of the Country as a whole – the provided rates fall anywhere from 2 Mbps to 300. This difference in service – from the haves to the have-nots – is referred to as the Digital Divide, and this is something RivCoConnect seeks to eliminate. We believe true high-speed Broadband – beginning with 1 Gbps (Gigabit per second, or a thousand megabits) for all residents is the best way to provide for the overall wellbeing of the County now and in the future.

    Why do we need such high-speed connections?

    The digital marketplace is growing every day. At one time, you may have had a cell phone capable of making calls and sending a message to another phone, but that was about all it could do. Your dial-up Internet connection allowed you to access your email account and browse sites that were moderately rich in graphics and text, but not much beyond that. Today is different, though. Now you have multiple cell phones within a household all accessing the Wi-Fi signal to stream Netflix or Hulu. Your PC or laptop is working on heavy graphics uploads, while one of your children is playing a virtual reality game in the other room. College classes are often taken online, and employment opportunities are found on the Internet as well. The Medical Industry is growing exponentially in the direction of Telemedicine remote care, and more and more people are finding telecommuting a better fit for themselves and their families. All of this takes bandwidth – a lot of bandwidth – and it takes faster and faster connections to make them work. Think of Internet data as water. At one time all you had to fill was a pail, so that small faucet worked just fine. Now you need to flood a football field, and that faucet needs to be replaced by a hydrant. Our digital footprints only get bigger – they never shrink.

    Who is taking part in RIVCOconnect?

    This initiative is a sponsored and approved by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors and the Executive Office. It is fully supported by the County’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Jay Orr, and is staffed and directed by County CIO Steve Reneker and the Riverside County Information Technology (RCIT) department. The initiative’s Master Plan and RFP is being developed by Best, Best & Krieger Attorneys at Law, and the cooperative efforts of this initiative will include County agencies such as Economic Development, Transportation & Land Management, a variety of other departments, the 28 incorporated cities, over 40 unincorporated population centers and 12 tribal communities. RIVCOconnect will also include the partnering service providers who will join us in bringing Riverside County to the head of the pack in high-speed Broadband.

    Will the taxpayers of Riverside County be paying for all this?

    Absolutely not. The infrastructure and services will in no way be paid for or maintained by the County of Riverside. RIVCOconnect’s role in this endeavor will be to clear the way for the private sector to come in and build, develop, and operate the Gigabit network we are seeking.

    Who will own and operate this new service?

    This new service will be owned and operated by one, two, or several private entities. It may be that one service provider will build and operate it from one end of the County to the other, or it may also be possible that one vendor will build it out and others will operate and maintain it on a regional basis. All of this is yet to be determined.

    Will we have fiber run into everyone’s home?

    It would be nice, but no one is expecting 100% fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP.) In all likelihood the new service will feature a hybrid network, comprised of FTTP in some areas, Ethernet over copper (EoC) wherever possible, and even some wireless coverage in others. The goal is going to be speed over transmission mode, although fiber will always be preferred when practicable, but we also need to keep in mind that this must be built out for the future – not just today, but for coming generations.

    How fast is the Internet in Riverside County today?

    It’s all over the map at this point. There are services barely providing 2 Mbps, while others are in excess of 300 Mbps.

    How fast is it going to be?

    We’re looking for nothing short of Gbps service, with speeds increasing with technology.

    What is all of this going to cost?

    Costs are still undetermined, but RIVCOconnect is adopting the GOOGLE Fiber Cities Model of 1 Gbps residential service for $70 per month, 5 Mbps or below for no cost, and the Gbps business class fiber of $500 per month. These are still negotiable figures, but the costs must be affordable for all County residents.

    How can I check to see how fast my Internet is right now?

    There are a number of apps you can download that will perform ping and data tests. The best one we have found so far is SPEEDTEST by OOKLA. It is available for Apple, Android and Windows devices.

    What is “digital equity?”

    Digital Equity is a program to bridge the digital divide by providing free refurbished computers to low income families and individuals within the Riverside County.

    How does the Digital Equity Program (DEP) work?

    Riverside county had made a commitment to support our community through the repurposing of surplus technology equipment.

    The electronic surplus, primary computers and related technology, from within Riverside County are transported to a central facility, where they go a process to remove all sensitive data, called data sanitization, that ensures the proper removal of data from our surplus equipment.

    The working computers then get refurbished and distributed to non-profit organizations that serve the those in need throughout the county. Alternatively, some of the computers and printers are repurposed to serve County agencies and departments.

    Other electronics no longer needed or not suitable for donation, are sold on an auction site to bring funding into the program or are sold. The computers and related electronics that are broken or non-functional are sent to an R2 certified E-waste company that can properly dispose of the items in compliance with environmental regulations.

    What benefits does the Digital Equity Program (DEP) provides to Riverside County?

    Through the donation of computers to nonprofit organizations throughout our community, the DEP program provides refurbished computers for those that need them. Additionally, we have partnered with school districts who provide computer literacy training that teaches the basics of how to operate a computer, utilize Microsoft Office products, such as Word and Excel, how to access and use the internet to find a job, do research, and connect with friends and family.

    Our regional internet providers, AT&T, Charter Spectrum and Frontier offer low cost broadband services for those that qualify.

    Together we are actively closing the digital divide in Riverside County.

    How can non-profits or community organizations participate in the Digital Equity Program (DEP)?

    All 501(c)(3) organizations serving the public in Riverside County qualify to receive free refurbished computers and printers. They may also request computers for donation to the low-income families or students that they serve. The organization may contact the DEP Program Manager or fill out the on-line application and submit with a copy of the State Non-profit document which includes their 501(c)(3) number.

    What kind of computer will be provided?

    All donated computers provided by DEP are surplus business class computers from Riverside County and other local governments. Each donated computer goes through a series of checks in preparation of donation that includes:

    • Data Sanitization to ensure all data has been removed
    • Installation of licensed Microsoft Window
    • Installation of licensed Microsoft Office (Work, Excel, Power Point and Outlook)
    • Inclusion of a working LED/LCD monitor
    • Inclusion of a working keyboard and mouse

    How does it costs to receive a computer?

    There is no cost to receive a computer from DEP.

    Who can receive a computer?

    All computers are donated to non-profit organizations, school districts, and government agencies. At this time, DEP does not provide direct donations to individuals.

    Is there a charge for Pickup or Delivery of donated computers?

    We do not deliver, but would assist our customers with loading their computers into their vehicles. For larger orders, we do have a loading dock and forklift.

    Do I need an apportionment before coming?

    Yes, we are in a gated facility and clients will need to call in advance to schedule for pick-up. Pickup of items can occur Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

    What size truck should I bring?

    Depending on the number of units being picked up, we can accommodate pick-up trucks, vans, stake bed and box trucks, as well as semi-trucks with full size trailers. Trucks with trailers over 45 feet may have difficulty navigating our parking lot. We do have forklifts, pallet jacks and dollies onsite and can assist with loading.

    Does the program include internet connectivity?

    No, but AT&T, Charter Spectrum and Frontier offer low cost connectivity for those that qualify. Please see the individual program details provided on each company’s website.

    Is the Digital Equity Program available outside of Riverside County?

    The end recipient of the refurbished computers needs to reside within Riverside County, but the Non-profit organizations could be statewide or national, if they serve needs or causes within Riverside County.

    I’m interested in starting a Digital Equity Program in my community, how do I get started?

    You may contact the DEP Program Manager, Nora Valenzuela or the County’s Chief Data Officer, Tom Mullen on how we can assist you .