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issue background

male with laptopAccess to the internet is required to fully participate in modern society; the pandemic laid to rest any debate about whether the internet is a civil right, a utility alongside electricity and water. However, many Los Angeles communities – especially low-income communities and communities of color – do not have access to fast, affordable, and reliable broadband.

  • 19% of LA County households and 16% of California households remain unconnected or under-connected to the internet.
  • In LA, the families left behind are predominantly in communities of color and low-income communities.

Research shows that Los Angeles County’s Digital Divide is rooted in:

  • Widespread underinvestment in broadband infrastructure in low income communities and communities of color, resulting in limited access to quality internet options with high speeds and reasonable costs. This pattern of disinvestment is called “digital redlining.”
  • monopoly or duopoly of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) drives a broken market for broadband services, allowing large national corporations to set the terms for quality, speed, price, and location of services. Consumers are disempowered in this broken market.
  • The policymaking landscape has been monopolized by providers. Communities and local leaders have not had a seat at the legislative or regulatory tables where policy is written and resources are deployed.

resources

Black female cell phoneKey to our movement is developing educational materials about issues relating to broadband and digital equity.  As communities get more comfortable with the  jargon-filled, technical, complex details of broadband infrastructure, policy, and opportunities for systems change, they’ll be better positioned to mobilize and advocate for critical policy and regulatory change.

The fact sheets and 101s most most frequently leveraged by our partners in the Initiative are linked below.

get involved

The Digital Equity Initiative hosts monthly information-sharing, strategy, and action convenings, and publishes a periodic newsletter.

To learn more, contact Digital Equity Initiative Director Shayna Englin at digitaldivide [@] calfund [.] org.

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