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RECAP: Infrastructure Deployment Task Force Convening | Oct. 27, 2021

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

Infrastructure Deployment Task Force Objective

Identifying barriers and opportunities to complete high-quality broadband infrastructure deployment to all residents and businesses, especially in unserved and underserved communities



Summary

The Infrastructure Task Force held its sixth meeting on Oct. 27, 2021, and included representatives from multiple sectors. Taskforce members discussed the L.A. County Infrastructure and Resources to Accelerate Digital Equity board motion that instructed the Director of Internal Services, in consultation with the Chief Executive Officer and County Counsel, to present viable options for the County to facilitate residential access to reliable broadband service in low-income communities where greater than 20% of the households lack internet service within 30 days. The Internal Services Department presented three options for the Board’s consideration. Members also learned that LA DEAL and CENIC formed the LA DEAL Action Team to develop a list of potential Early Action/Pathway Projects projects for the state to consider funding. Currently, the following projects are under consideration in South L.A., the Gateway Cities, Antelope Valley, and South Bay.



Resources


Discussion


The following are the three options presented to the Board:


Option 1: Information from telecommunication carriers and ISPs on the availability and prices for connectivity in the impacted communities for up to 300,000 households.

  • Prices ranged from $10.00 to $74.99 per month, with download and upload speeds ranging from 5 megabits per second (Mbps) to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps).

  • Some included provisions for free equipment or devices, and some identified minimum levels of households and minimum annual commitments.

  • All required direct payment by the County on behalf of the residents.

  • Respondents offer subsidy programs that reduce the costs of broadband.

This option would be the quickest to implement and potentially cover many households at below-market rates.


Option 2: Offers the County the potential of rapid deployment with consistent user experiences for households and potential service improvements over time.

  • The County will be able to control its networks' footprint, quality of service, and opportunities for internet cost savings. The County could also partner with community-based organizations to employ community "Digital Navigators" for technical support.

This option has the advantage of directly delivering service under the County's oversight while maximizing the potential for partnerships in the communities most affected by the digital divide. It can be deployed rapidly and begin connecting households within months of the Board's determination to move forward.


Option 3: Offers the County control of the network and service delivery with a consistent experience to households in need and potential service improvements over time.

  • This option "future-proofs" the services while offering the most robust, fastest, and reliable service.

  • Deployment would take several years and substantial financial investments but could be advantageous with long-term economic and jurisdictional authority to achieve and sustain digital equity.

The task force discussed the three presented options, and some organizations highlighted the possibilities they would submit support for.


We also heard from projects making strides in their respective communities; Destination Crenshaw is 1.3 miles transformative infrastructure project that will increase economic development and job creation. This project will also include broadband access for the community and small businesses. The City of Palmdale is also working to broaden internet access for its region.




The Infrastructure Deployment 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 #7 is scheduled for Nov. 17, 2021.





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