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Central California: Shafter Creating Fiber Connections for Business, Quality of Life

| Written by Lisa Gonzalez | No Comments | Updated on Jul 31, 2013 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

Shafter, California, faced tough economic times when the end of the housing boom derailed its fiber optic network plans. Rather than discard a vision to use high-speed broadband as a catalyst for better quality of life and economic development, the community adjusted its plan and is realizing its long-term goal. With no borrowing or bonding, this community is assuring its survival as it reaches out for new jobs, improved schools, and more affordable connections for municipal facilities.

The journey began in the 1990s, when the City Council took a hard look at the community’s assets and challenges. ILSR spoke with Scott Hurlbert, Assistant City Manager, who gave us an in-depth look at what Shafter has, how they did it, and how they continue to expand and use their network for the community.

In addition to stories on Shafter’s network history, and economic development, Chris Mitchell spoke with Hurlbert for Episode #56 of the Broadband Bits podcast. This series helps create a complete picture of one community taking the initiative and exercising its connectivity self-reliance.

Read ongoing coverage related to these networks at ILSR’s site devoted to Community Broadband Networks.  You can also subscribe to a once-per-week email with stories about community broadband networks.

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About Lisa Gonzalez

Lisa Gonzalez researches and reports on telecommunications and municipal networks’ impact on life at the local level. Lisa has worked in politics, education, and as a freelance journalist. In addition to her contributions at, Lisa writes for and produces the Broadband Bits podcast. More

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