Yesterday, Tuesday February 23rd, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a motion for the Chief Information Office to start developing a Digital Divide Regional Strategic Plan. This plan will coordinate all of the efforts across County departments currently underway to increase broadband infrastructure, further access to broadband supported devices, and improve digital literacy. According to the LA County Chief Information Officer Bill Kehoe, this regional strategic plan will coordinate with existing efforts by the state, community organizations and local government. The CIO specifically called out the work of Regional Broadband Consortia, of which the BizFed Institute has recently applied to take the lead on in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Mr. Kehoe mentioned that the work of the County and the Consortia would not be duplicative but instead complementary.
After a very successful forum discussing the Digital Divide in November of 2020, the BizFed Institute and its sister organization BizFed pulled together a strong group of community-based, nonprofit, business, healthcare, education, labor and government organizations to form the Los Angeles/Orange County Regional Broadband Consortia (LA/OCRBC). Los Angeles is currently without a California Public Utilities Commission funded broadband consortium and Orange County has almost always been without one. Consortia are formed throughout the state to help increase broadband infrastructure by mapping out gaps in coverage, identifying projects that can fill those gaps and assisting in submitting applications to bring funding into the region to make those projects come to a reality.
To fill this void, the BizFed Institute reached out to the Southern California Association of Governments, the California Emerging Technology Fund, the Orange County Business Council, Southeast Community Development Corporation, Manchester Community Technologies, LA Care, the Los Angeles County Office of Education and National Community Renaissance (the founder of Reinventing our Region) to round out the LA/OCRBC Executive Committee. A letter from the Los Angeles Executive Committee members and other Los Angeles based supporters of the Consortia (see logos below) was submitted in favor the County’s motion.
The motion that unanimously passed today made by Supervisor Solis and seconded by Supervisor Kuehl is the next step toward bridging the digital divide and creating a sense of urgency around developing broadband infrastructure in Los Angeles County.
To get involved in the Los Angeles/Orange County Regional Broadband Consortia and/or the BizFed Institute Digital Divide efforts, please contact Mitchell Vieyra, Senior Program Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.