• Introduced
  • CA Assembly Committee
  • Assembly Floor Vote
  • CA Senate Committee
  • Senate Floor Vote
  • Bill Passed
  • Bill Signed

Summary of the Bill

AB 41, the Digital Equity in Video Franchising Act of 2023 (DEVFA), updates and reforms the Digital Infrastructure & Video Competition Act (DIVCA) of 2006, to meet the needs of communities left on the wrong side of the digital divide. Specifically, this bill revises the renewal process for cable franchising, which will improve equal access, oversight and transparency, and anti-discrimination provisions in current law thereby leading to greater broadband access, quality, and pricing.


When the Digital Infrastructure & Video Competition Act (DIVCA) of 2006 was passed it was expected to increase competition between cable and internet service providers and, as a result, improve broadband access, enhance service quality, and reduce prices.  After 17 years, the evidence is clear: DIVCA has failed to deliver on these promises. Today, millions of households across California still lack access to fast, reliable, and affordable broadband services and overall competition has actually decreased in certain areas of the state.

AB 41’s Proposed Solutions

  • Reforms the cable franchising process to foster competition and ensure that all Californians have equal access to affordable, high-speed internet services.
  • Strengthens state enforcement and oversight of franchising agreements. 
  • Increases equal access and anti-discrimination laws to advance the historic investments the State Legislature recently made to build the middle and last mile network. 
  • Helps to ensure that no California family or community is left on the wrong side of the digital divide, regardless of their zip code.
AB 41 – the Digital Equity in Video Franchising Act (DEVFA) of 2023 – will reform the regulatory process whereby companies are authorized to deliver cable, video, and broadband service and, in so doing, address the digital equity shortcomings in our current system. AB 41 will result in improved access to and better quality services, lower prices, new innovations and, most importantly, help the state finally close the digital divide. It is a very pragmatic legislative approach that builds on 17 years of lessons learned under the old system and the firsthand digital equity issues thousands of Californians experience everyday – problems that were dramatically exposed by the pandemic and that are in need of correcting once and for all.
Arnold Sowell Jr.

Arnold Sowell Jr.Executive Director of NextGen California

Our Partners

AB 41 – Digital Equity in Video Franchising Act (Holden) – Strengthens oversight of and equal access to cable, video, and broadband services by modernizing the renewal process for cable franchising.

Access to and facility with the internet is a requirement to engage in today’s world. Work activities, school classes, job applications, and medical appointments all demand reliable high-speed internet. Every Californian deserves access to fast, reliable, and affordable internet, and to have the opportunity to learn how to effectively navigate the digital world. We believe a fast connection without bandwidth or data limitations, coupled with technical support, is a civil right—not a luxury.