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Equal access to internet broadband must be addressed: LAEDC supports Broadband Infrastructure and Distance Learning Bond Act of 2020

By June 3, 2020 No Comments

Homeschooling and work-from-home mandates have laid bare the cruel condition that too many California households and students have neither reliable internet service nor the hardware to participate and advance.

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June 2, 2020

Assembly Member Muratsuchi
Capitol Building Room 2179
Sacramento, CA 94249

RE: Support for the Broadband Infrastructure and Distance Learning Bond Act of 2020

Dear Assembly Member Muratsuchi:

On behalf of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), an organization whose purpose is to collectively advance opportunity and prosperity for all the residents of Los Angeles, please accept this letter in support of the Broadband Infrastructure and Distance Learning Bond Act of 2020 (the “Broadband Bond Act”).

Today in California, too many households are suffering from disparate and unequal access to internet based solely on income and geography. This proposed Broadband Bond Act would rectify these disparities by bringing multi-gigabit broadband access and services to rural, urban, and suburban communities and households that are either unserved or underserved with broadband service simply because they do not meet the business case for private sector internet service providers to invest. In addition, this act will provide local educational agencies with devices, such as Chromebooks and iPads, to bring classroom training to home-bound public school students and to provide these students with remote access to school assignments, courses, lectures, homework, and school-related internet research.

The “shelter in place” orders and subsequent homeschooling mandates have laid bare the cruel condition that too many California households and students have neither reliable internet service nor the hardware to participate, function, and advance in a distributed economy, as well as in an at-home teaching environment.

This inequity cannot continue in a post-COVID-19 milieu, where having reliable access to internet can mean the difference both between whether you advance economically or are relegated to a poverty-inducing job and between whether your child’s educational attainment is stunted or furthered.

This base and unjust internet access gap cannot be permitted to continue a single day longer in the richest state in the richest country on the planet. And so, the LAEDC believes that the state has a role to step-in to address these income- and geography-based broadband gaps and imbalances with this bond measure so that all of California’s residents and students, most especially those who have been left without broadband access for too long, can have the speed, reliability, and level of service they need for success. For these reasons, the LAEDC is pleased to support the Broadband Bond Act to provide communities and households access to wired and wireless multi-gigabit broadband.

Sincerely,

Bill Allen , CEO
Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC)