Comcast makes $4.5 million digital investment for flood-damaged town of Planada
PLANADA, Calif. – The Comcast Corporation announced today it plans to invest $4.5 million to bring high-speed broadband internet to the rural Merced County community of Planada.
In a press release, the company said the investment is meant to create greater digital equity and support the community, which suffered severe damages from storms earlier this year.
Over the weekend, state assemblywoman Esmeralda Soria (D-Merced) and speaker-designate Robert Rivas (D-Salinas) toured areas throughout Planada to survey ongoing repairs in the flood-damaged community.
Planada Superintendent Jose Gonzalez says insurance covers most of the damage to the elementary school. Gonzalez says that while a handful of rooms remain completely gutted, most have been renovated.
As repairs slowly continue, an additional part of Comcast’s investments include laptops and school supply kits that were given to graduating eighth-grade students from Cesar Chavez Middle School.
Additionally, the company donated $100,000 to Planada-based non-profit organizations.
United Way of Merced County received $75,000 for storm relief efforts and other community programs and the San Joaquin Regional Broadband Consortium received $25,000 to support digital equity efforts.
This funding comes a year after Comcast expanded its services to the rural community of Biola in Fresno County.
The company says work is now underway on expansion services in several other areas in Fresno and Merced counties.
Other flood recovery news
A federal disaster recovery center opened in the Tulare County city of Farmersville on Monday.
The center will help county residents impacted by flooding from record-breaking storms. It’s located at 907 W. Visalia Road at the Farmersville Training Center.
The winter storms prompted President Joe Biden to declare an emergency disaster in several California counties, including Tulare and Kern.
Homeowners can apply for FEMA aid online at DisasterAssisstance.org. Additional relief funding is available for small business owners within the disaster area.
And, fearing rising water in the Tulare Lake basin, the Pacific Gas and Electric Company is disconnecting power to some customers around the lakebed.
The company said Monday it has already cut power to 26 customers in the flooded areas so far, with more anticipated.
The company this week also plans to remove ground-mounted transformers and other power equipment away from the flood risk. Crews are using trucks, boats and helicopters to reach the equipment.
Central Valley Journalism Collaborative reporter Brianna Vaccari and KVPR’s Joshua Yeager and Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado contributed to this report.
This story is part of the Central Valley News Collaborative, which is supported by the Central Valley Community Foundation with technology and training support by Microsoft Corp.
Editor's note: Comcast is among KVPR's financial supporters.