The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion by Supervisor Kathryn Barger and co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn that directed the County’s Internal Services Department to equitably identify internet broadband demonstration sites across all five of the County’s Supervisorial Districts.
Supervisor Barger discussed the necessity of broadband for the public, at large. “It’s undeniable that we live in a digital era,” said Supervisor Barger. “The internet has become a necessity for youth to succeed in school, and for adults to remain productive while working remotely. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create broadband access for the unserved in our County through this pilot program. Let’s make this multi-million dollar investment count for as many communities as possible, so they are prepared to thrive in the digital realm.”
Supervisor Hahn also reflected on the value ISD’s pilot program offers. “The Community Broadband Network Program has the potential to make a real difference in the lives of residents in underserved communities who have faced barrier after barrier because they don’t have reliable internet access,” said Supervisor Hahn. “But I was shocked to see that, despite being one of the areas with the highest need, the entirety of Southeast Los Angeles was left out of the pilot program. I appreciate my colleagues for backing this plan to expand this pilot program and reach a community in every district.”
Los Angeles County’s ISD will invest approximately $59 million in American Rescue Plan funding to create an infrastructure that delivers fast, reliable, and affordable broadband in the areas it has identified as pilot sites. Initially, ISD identified proposed communities that are located in the southern and eastern portions of Los Angeles County, and portions of the San Fernando Valley as an illustrative example of potential neighborhoods. All, with the exception of East Los Angeles, are within the city of Los Angeles’ jurisdiction.
Tuesday’s motion will support efforts to ensure geographic diversity in the pilot locations. In addition, ISD was directed to identify and expand resources available to the County, especially in rural communities, through Federal and State funding. ISD is scheduled to report back to the Board of Supervisors in 30 days with its findings.