Parts of Los Angeles, including South L.A., will benefit from a $6 billion state investment in California’s broadband infrastructure, the city Department of Public Works announced Thursday.
The funding, through Senate Bill 156, will bring broadband to underserved areas in Los Angeles through an open-access middle-mile network. According to the California Department of Technology, open-access networks give public and private providers or entities wholesale access to broadband infrastructure with “fair, reasonable and equal terms.”
The city is also working to bridge the digital divide and is investing $5 million in a Digital Inclusion Strategic Framework produced by the Bureau of Street Lighting.
“As the reliance on being connected digitally is so important in our daily lives, this plan is important in providing access and equity for those Angelenos who need connectivity to be able to succeed,” said Board of Public Works Vice President Aura Garcia. “We thank the City Council for supporting this endeavor and the Bureau of Street Lighting in providing a multi-faceted initiative.”
According to the Bureau of Street Lighting, the city’s efforts’ will be boosted by the state funding, and planned programs and services include:
— enhanced computer labs and Wi-Fi in Department of Park and Recreation Centers with refreshed computer assets and expanded Wi-Fi infrastructure;
— expanded OurCycleLA, an existing program to refurbish used computers and distribute them to underserved communities;
— digital literacy grant programs to provide grants to support community organizations hosting digital skills programs for job training, online learning, city services access and financial literacy.
— FutureCorps, part of the larger AngelenoCorps program that will be placed in tech support positions to help bridge the digital divide; and
— Vision Lab, a location in South L.A. that includes multiple technology-related workforce development and digital literacy programs.
“The Bureau of Street Lighting, with support from our city and community partners looks forward to implementing these important services and programs that will bring computer and internet access, online training, workforce development and much more to Angelenos in need,” said Bureau of Street Lighting Executive Director Miguel Sangalang.