The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to explore faster ways to close the digital divide, potentially leveraging the county’s own internet access to offer service to communities in need.

Supervisor Hilda Solis proposed using existing infrastructure to broaden access to reliable high-speed internet service even as the county looks for more strategic, long-term solutions.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the severity of inequities in digital access and infrastructure,” Solis said. “Too many of our constituents are unfairly disadvantaged and experiencing hardships due to lack of quality internet service; preventing many from accessing education, employment opportunities, health services, financial resources, support networks and commerce.”

The board directed staffers to report back in 30 days on options for increasing residential access in low-income communities where more than 20% of households lack internet service based on U.S. Census Bureau data.

Solutions to be considered include a county-run broadband service, agreements with internet service providers or public-private partnerships.

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