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RECAP: Affordability Task Force Convening | Oct. 27, 2021

Affordability Task Force Objective

Planning for high-quality, sustainable, affordable, and equitable service for households and communities.



Summary

The Affordability Task Force held its sixth meeting on Oct. 27, 2021, and included representatives from multiple sectors interested in resolving the digital divide in the Los Angeles County region. The task force discussed the California Public Utilities Commission request for party comments on the Interim Federal Rule by Friday, Oct. 29. Taskforce members identified affordable options to be considered to include in the party comments. Additionally, the highlights from the Broadband Affordability and the Emergency Broadband Benefit in California policy brief were presented. The policy brief examined broadband affordability in California and explored awareness and adoption of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB). Two thousand one hundred forty-three surveys were collected. The following are the brief highlights:

  • The average monthly cost of broadband reported by low-income households (about $67) is almost identical to the cost reported by non-low-income households ($69)

  • About a quarter (24%) of low-income households that subscribe to residential broadband report having to cut on other essential expenses (“such as health care, food or clothing”) to pay for broadband during the past year.

  • 20% of low-income respondents are aware of the EBB program


Resources


Discussion

  • The development of a high-quality facility hub to provide training and information to families seeking to understand and resolve ongoing connectivity issues in the household (e.g., rebooting). The facility might resemble the library model, where people have access to one-on-one training—identifying an anchor organization (middle-mile) with the mission to provide the support and training. The "neighborhood center" would have the capacity to offer a secure private space for people to connect to the internet, and this will be critical for supporting crowded households.

  • It will be essential to drive the internet to the home by leveraging multiple approaches such as transportation, schools, street lighting, etc.



The Affordability Task Force meets virtually monthly and includes education, health, nonprofit, education, business, city municipalities, and internet service providers. To learn more, visit: ladeal.org/events.


Meeting #7 is scheduled for Nov. 17, 2021.


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