What is the LA DEAL?
The Los Angeles Digital Equity Action League (LA DEAL) Consortium is a collaborative community-driven process to assess and tackle the broadband gaps that exist in communities across the L.A. region.
This unique Regional Broadband Consortium for L.A. County seeks to address broadband access in a systemic and equitable way through true community representation and a strong infrastructure of civic leaders representing business, education, nonprofits, and government, so that underserved and disadvantaged people have equal access to affordable, reliable, and high-speed internet service, and the devices and training to optimize their use.
The LA DEAL’s mission is to eliminate the digital divide in L.A. County.
Why is action needed?
Over the past decade, as society has accelerated its reliance on the internet to conduct business and access health care, services, education and important news, it has become evident that those without or with only limited access to the internet have become more and more disenfranchised from career, economic and social opportunities. Reliable and affordable broadband internet access can serve as an engine of economic mobility, educational opportunity, civic engagement and better health care. Conversely, individuals and communities that lack access to broadband and the means to use it are increasingly being left behind. In 21st century L.A., no one should be left offline.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and intensified the digital divide that exists between those that have access to broadband and technology and those that do not. As many Angelenos have transitioned to working from home and distance learning, the need for affordable and reliable telecommunications services and resources is now more important than ever. For a large and diverse region like Los Angeles County that represents urban, suburban and rural areas encompassed within a vast region of 4,700 square miles, ensuring reliable and equitable access to broadband has been tremendously challenging for providers and municipalities alike.
An internet connection is an essential tool to access services such as applying for unemployment insurance, filing for PPP grants, and even attending local government hearings which are now held virtually. Additionally, agencies often distribute important information regarding emergencies or other vital health information via the internet; a survey conducted by PEW found that 70 percent of Americans report searching online for information about COVID-19. The availability of broadband access and the devices to use it can be a matter of life and death for L.A. County residents.
Greater deployment of high-quality advanced communication services to all Angelenos will promote economic growth, job creation, educational attainment, and substantial social benefits.