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RECAP: Devices Task Force Convening | Sept. 7, 2021

Updated: Nov 1, 2021

Devices Task Force Objective

Determining types of equipment (standards, device types, ownership model) needed to provide adequate telehealth, remote work, online learning, and small business internet success



Summary

The Devices Task Force held its fourth meeting on Sept. 7, 2021, and included representatives from multiple sectors interested in resolving the digital divide in the Los Angeles County region. The task force was briefed on the approval of the LA DEAL to be the Regional Broadband Consortium by the California Public Utilities Commission. Resolution T-17738 support includes a two-grant award of $300,00 divided between the LAEDC and UNITE-LA. The responsibilities of the Consortia include identifying infrastructure projects, policies, and priorities and strengthening community engagement efforts to lift infrastructure, affordability, and digital literacy.



Resources


Discussion


The co-chairs analyzed the common themes that emerged at previous task force meetings and presented a series of the key recommendations collected to date. The following are the key takeaways.


Device general principles: Identify the right device, software, and support for usage:

Smartphones are essential for telehealth and general limited purposes

  • Tablets and Chromebooks are best for use in grades for K-8, and some positive attributes include the SIM card in some devices and always being connected to the internet.

  • Laptops work best for 9-12 grades, businesses, and home use

  • High-performance laptops are required for specific education programs such as engineering or film production

  • Desktops are the best device for general use

  • Hotspots can connect to multiple devices, but the coverage speed varies, and devices are often slow due to congestion. A solution to alleviate the congestion issue is to build additional infrastructure.

  • Tablets might be a viable option for seniors given touch screen

  • Low-cost programs include complete hardware for connectivity

  • Aftermarket routers may cause issues

  • Verify hardware is compatible with devices

Recommendations for Ownership Model

The household buys, lease, or receive a subsidized free model, contingent on the proper setting: What is the best ownership model?

  • A low-cost price point that falls between $80-$150 based on a sliding scale based on the financial situation of each household

  • Offer more robust devices at a higher discounted price to fulfill the needs of families:

  • Rent to own/monthly payments

  • Create a sense of ownership

  • Tech support is critical and should be linked with the device dissemination program.

  • Open up dialogue to assist end-user with support in multiple languages and add 1-800 tech support phone numbers to streamline people’s ability to seek help with ease


Homework


The task force was assigned homework to learn the following:

  • What are the dissemination programs, and who are they for?

  • Update inventory assets of resources

  • Review the best practices listed in the device matrix



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


Meeting #5 is scheduled for Oct. 5, 2021.


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