In light of recent emergencies and crises—devastating wildfires, public safety power shut-offs, and a health pandemic that closed schools and workplaces sending everyone home—there is a deeper sense of urgency among policymakers and regulators to get everyone online—especially rural communities and tribal lands, low-income households, and other digitally-disadvantaged populations.
The sobering reality is that Unconnected and Underconnected residents are not only at a distinct disadvantage for educational and economic opportunities, but their very public safety also is at risk because they are not online. That is why CETF calls Digital Access a 21st Century Civil Right and continues to forge ahead with focus and accountability in the Quest for Digital Equity.
We applaud Governor Newsom for launching Broadband For All and commend Legislators for recognizing the imperative to close the Digital Divide, which has become more of a “Digital Cliff” during this COVID-19 crisis as more students, families, and seniors fall farther into poverty and isolation because they are not connected. Please see and share the following resources to support your work.
California’s Quest for Digital Equity video with clarion calls for action.
Letter from Big City Mayors (San José, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno, Oakland, Long Beach, Santa Ana, Anaheim, Stockton and Riverside) to Internet Service Providers commending them for stepping up to assist residents during this crisis and requesting that they extend interim free Internet service to qualified households until at least July 31, 2020 and remove barriers to signing up immediately for reduced-cost affordable home Internet offers.
Recommendations for ISPs to Consider in Responding to COVID-19 filed by CETF with the California Public Utilities Commission.
Now is the time for action. Thank you for your leadership and partnership in the Quest for Digital Equity.
Sunne Wright McPeak, President and CEO
California Emerging Technology Fund
P.S. Digital Inclusion Leaders recently published excellent opinion articles that you will enjoy reading.
Partnerships Can Close the Digital Divide by Apoorva Pasricha, Innovation and Technology Advisor, San José Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation
COVID-19 Reveals How Low-Income, Underserved Valley Residents Need Internet Access by Eduardo González, Office of Community and Economic Development, CSU Fresno