LOS ANGELES, CA – Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion authored by Chair Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District, and co-authored by Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell on developing the infrastructure necessary to provide low-income residents in the County with affordable, high quality and high speed, sustainable internet service. Approximately 364,000 households in Los Angeles County lack internet access due primarily to cost.

“Just this last week, Congress passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which approves $63 billion nationwide, specifically for broadband. And yesterday, I had the honor of joining President Joe Biden and various Congressional leaders at the signing for this bill,” shared Chair Solis. “If we, as a County, are ever going to truly realize digital equity, now is the time. This motion strikes a balance between immediate solutions and long-term sustainable services, all with the intent to urgently address digital inequity amongst our low-income households.”

“It is a moral indignity that anyone in our County cannot access the internet due to cost. A lack of broadband has led to learning loss, missed upskilling and a deep dive in healthcare access,” shared Supervisor Mitchell. “I am proud that this motion puts a multi-pronged strategy in place to close the digital divide that includes expanding low-to-no cost subsidized internet for households that a disproportionately impacted and laying the groundwork for long term solutions, like making broadband a public utility.”

In response to the report back by the County’s Internal Services Department (ISD) on August 31, 2021, the Board of Supervisors today unanimously adopted a motion to assess viable options for the County to facilitate residential access to reliable broadband service in low-income communities that lack internet service and to return to the Board with quarterly updates. The Board:

  1. Identified ISD as the County’s lead department to ensure the County’s efforts on all community broadband infrastructure and residential services are aligned and coordinated.
  2. Instructed the County departments to fund a countywide promotional campaign to make residents aware of existing financial subsidy programs currently available through the State and Federal government. The campaign must be conducted in multiple languages to ensure everyone gets the opportunity to apply.
  3. Instructed ISD to negotiate the lowest price, but best quality internet services with the County’s existing contracted broadband and/or carriers or negotiate new contracts.
  4. Instructed ISD to execute agreements with consultants to return to the Board of Supervisors with options for a long-term sustainable strategy to provide residential internet services, such as a Community Wireless Network or County-administered municipal broadband service. This will help to ensure that low cost, high quality internet service can be sustained.

To view the full motion, click here.

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