The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to have the city take steps to create a digital equity plan to address the city’s digital divide.
“The internet is a basic necessity of modern life … with all aspects of life from school to work to grocery shopping transitioning to remote operations in some form or another, inequitable access to reliable internet is widening the gap of the digital divide,” stated the motion, introduced by Councilman Bob Blumenfield.
The City Council, with 14 yes votes and one absent, instructed the city administrative officer and chief legislative analyst to report on the creation of a plan, including short- and long-term goals and identified funding sources. The CAO and CLA will also report back with policies on the state and federal level that will help Los Angeles promote digital inclusion.
The motion builds on past action to address the digital divide in Los Angeles, including the Our City L.A. Program, which distributes devices and hotspots; Get Connected Los Angeles, which helps Angelenos find low-cost internet and device options; the Angeleno Connectivity Trust, which provides free internet to students who lack access; and the library’s “tech to go” program, which lets Angelenos check out internet hotspots and devices the way they would a book.
“In order to continue the city’s efforts in this arena, a reliable funding source must be identified,” the motion states.
The City Council previously voted to establish a digital inclusion fund, which could target funding and resources to specific projects to address the digital divide.