LA County Collaborates with Federal Government to Bring High-Speed Internet to Underserved Communities

Elgin Nelson

The Los Angeles County Internal Services Department (ISD) in collaboration with the City of Los Angeles, is installing new public fiber infrastructure to give cost-effective, high-speed internet to underserved communities that include cities located in South Los Angeles, East Los Angeles/Boyle Heights, San Fernando Valley, & Southeast Los Angeles.

The ‘Delete the Divide’ initiative aims to provide low-cost broadband access through public-private partnerships that give fast internet access and equity for Black, Latinx, urban, rural, and low-income communities across the county. The initiative falls under the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a $14 billion enterprise that ensures households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare, and more.

Eligible households can receive a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service or up to $75 per month. The program is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.

“Internet access is not a luxury— it’s a necessity like electricity and running water. The Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) is committed to Deleting the Digital Divide and ensuring every student in the county and their families, especially in our underserved communities, has a fair chance at success,” said Debra Duardo, Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools. 

On October 27, 2020, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously

approved a motion to enact the Delete the Divide initiative. Since then, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors approved recovery funds that include $56 million towards community broadband access where approximately 461,000 households are without internet services, according to research. 

Sonia Hooks, project leader for the initiative, has provided hot spots and computers to over 35,000 students in critical need. As a result, she was recognized as Administrator of the Year by the Association of LA County Office School Administrators (ALACOSA) in 2022. 

 “We want to get high-speed broadband access into our cities and communities who are lacking it,” said Sonia Baccus Hooks, Project Leader for ‘Delete the Divide. “We’ve been relying on our Internet service providers to provide fair and equitable access to our black and brown communities.”

According to federal reports, 859,046 households in Los Angeles County enrolled in the ACP program as of September 30, 2023— a 504,389 increase since the inception of the program in December 2021.

President Joe Biden announced plans to request $6 billion to continue ACP funding through December 2024 back in October. This budget request is subject to approval by Congress.

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