Identifying priorities for public policy to permanently eliminate the digital divide.
02/07/22 Policy & Advocacy Taskforce Meeting
The Policy & Advocacy Task Force held its eighth meeting on Feb. 7, 2022, and included representatives from multiple sectors interested in resolving the digital divide in the Los Angeles County region.
The Policy & Advocacy Task Force meets for discussions of relevant public policy, regulatory and identify best practices for public policy to permanently eliminate the digital divide.
Shayna Englin, Director of California Community Foundation Digital Equity Initiative, delivered a presentation on “Better Data for Better Broadband” which discussed:
Discrepancies of the availability of fixed broadband, defined as download speeds of 25Mbps and upload speeds of 3Mbps.
Federal and state efforts to get more and better data.
Being able to accurately describe the gap is crucial to advocacy efforts and grantmaking.
Englin described how using one set of data, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) found that 4.4% of people nationwide lacked broadband access. Microsoft, using a different set of data found that 48% of the population did not use the internet at broadband speeds. BroadbandNow estimated that 13% did not have broadband at all.
Without accurate understanding of what physical addresses have service – such as households, businesses, anchor institutions, public housing, farms – we can’t effectively or efficiently direct investments where they’re needed. This means cities, counties, Councils of Governments (COGs), etc. can’t get the resources they need
Efforts are currently underway at the federal – FCC and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) – and state level to get more and better data. A March 2021 decision allows for the collection of more granular data for the CA Broadband Map.
This data will be critical to the work of the CA Broadband Council, which is the voice of California in comments to NTIA and FCC, for State Broadband Plan authors and owners, and be a driver of federal funding, including Digital Equity Act Challenge grants.
Later in the meeting, David Rattray, President and CEO, UNITE-LA, and Ana Teresa Dahan, Senior Director, Policy, Advocacy & Communications, Great Public Schools Now, gave an update on the Memorandum of Understanding with County of Los Angeles ISD Department – Information Sharing and Coordination of Digital Connectivity Investments passing. They are working to coordinate a “Thank You” for the Board of Supervisors for supporting the “Community Wireless” pilot.
California State Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee Hearing on Middle Mile BB on February 16, 2022: https://acom.assembly.ca.gov/hearings
Measuring theEffectiveness of Digital Inclusion Approaches (MEDIA) Policy Brief # 1 – A Roadmap forAffordable Broadband: Lessons from the Emergency Broadband Benefit: https://arnicusc.org/publications/a-roadmap-for-affordable-broadband-lessons-from-the-emergency-broadband-benefit/
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