The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion authored by Supervisor Kathryn Barger and co-authored by Supervisor Hilda Solis to provide more equitable access to high-speed internet for students and workers in need.
By News Desk
COVID-19 shed a light on many inequities within Los Angeles County. The pandemic revealed a great disparity in internet access, which impacts children who are learning online and residents who are teleworking.
238,000 L.A. County households lack internet access
The American Community Survey Data for Los Angeles County revealed that only 65 percent of households in low-income communities had internet access and only 51 percent had a computer. In total, 238,000 households lack internet access. According to a study by the USC Annenberg School of Communications, many families with school-age children in Los Angeles County do not have the resources necessary for distance learning and are likely to fall behind in their education during the pandemic.
The motion raised by Supervisors Barger and Solis aims to create a plan to:
- Develop best practices for streamlining the permitting of high-speed broadband internet;
- (2) Explore both public and private options for providing access to internet, including leveraging grants;
- (3) Develop a database and geographic information system to display existing broadband infrastructure;
- (4) Explore revisions to the County’s General Plan to give unincorporated areas sufficient access to high-speed internet; and
- (5) Explore new strategies to provide free, low-cost or permit based internet to disadvantaged communities.
The motion directs the Department of Public Works and the Department of Regional Planning to report back to the Board in 90 days with their plan.
The motion by Supervisors Barger and Solis can be found here.
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