The California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) was established as a nonprofit corporation pursuant to orders from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in approving the mergers of SBC-AT&T and Verizon-MCI in 2005. As a condition of approval of the mergers, AT&T and Verizon were required to contribute to CETF a total of $60 million over 5 years "for the purpose of achieving ubiquitous access to broadband and advanced services in California, particularly in underserved communities, through the use of emerging technologies by 2010.
CETF's mission is to provide leadership statewide to close the "Digital Divide" by accelerating the deployment and adoption of broadband to unserved and underserved communities and populations. This is accomplished by making investments in programs and projects to improve access, affordability, applications, accessibility and assistance to broadband-the "5As" of the Digital Divide.
Initial Priority Focus
- Rural communities that lack the broadband infrastructure.
- Urban poor and disadvantaged communities that lack the computers and affordable connections to the Internet with relevant applications.
- Disabled populations that lack technology accessibility (which will be addressed in part by promoting universal design of all technology to be accessible and integrating accessibility into all efforts).