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Digital Equity

Advocating for policies, programs, and additional resources to close the digital divide by tackling barriers to broadband access, reliability, and affordability and fostering digital equity and digital literacy.

Digital Equity is critical for civic and cultural participation, employment and educational opportunities, as well as access to essential services such as healthcare and job training. We believe everyone should have access to the infrastructure, technology, and digital skills necessary to live, learn, and thrive.
Arturo Juarez

Arturo JuarezProgram Manager & Policy Advisor

Our Current Digital Equity Work

We strongly oppose AB 41, which as amended undermines California’s current video and broadband service franchising process. The bill’s new amendments create a series of insurmountable policy changes that will make it more difficult for communities, localities, and the state to close the digital divide and address the issues of digital equity and access.

Access to and facility with the internet is a requirement to engage in today’s world. Work activities, school classes, job applications, and medical appointments all demand reliable high-speed internet. Every Californian deserves access to fast, reliable, and affordable internet, and to have the opportunity to learn how to effectively navigate the digital world. We believe a fast connection without bandwidth or data limitations, coupled with technical support, is a civil right—not a luxury.

In partnership with Compton College, NextGen Policy established a digital equity pilot program called Connect Corps, which is centered around ensuring Angelenos have fast, reliable, and affordable internet service; the devices necessary for digital access; and the digital literacy skills for full economic, societal, and civic participation in today’s digital world.

  • NextGen is a part of the State Digital Equity partnership team, which is led by the State Department of Technology and the California Public Utilities Commission. The partnership team is assisting with the drafting of the state’s Digital Equity Plan by ensuring that the voices of impacted communities and vulnerable populations are heard. Once finalized, the state’s digital equity plan will place Californian in a position to compete for billions in federal Broadband for All, Digital Equity (BEAD) funding.
  • As part of our digital equity plan efforts, NGP has reached out to nearly 150,000 individuals across our state and nearly 200 partner organizations to participate in 14 Broadband For All workshops over a 3 month period. The workshops enable participants to share information about their broadband access and digital literacy challenges as well as provide input to policymakers about WHERE and HOW CA’s share of $2.75B in federal BEAD funding should be invested.

Big Wins for Digital Equity

AB 2750 (Bonta)

Requires the California Department of Technology (CDT), in consultation with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the California Broadband Council, to develop a state digital equity plan and seek all available federal funding to implement the plan. The bill also requires that the plan include, among other things, an identification of the barriers to digital equity faced by specified populations.

AB 2749 (Quirk-Silva)

Requires the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to review certain California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) grant applications within a certain timeframe and deem them approved thereafter. The bill exacerbated the challenges of issuing grants by setting up barriers to the comprehensive review and approval of project applications. It also failed to ensure that projects awarded grant dollars deliver on their promise of providing affordable, quality and reliable service.

Airways for Equity Resolution

This resolution urges the passage of critical federal legislation, the Airways to Equity Initiative. This federal bill that would dedicate a substantial portion of future spectrum auction proceeds to endow a mission-driven Digital Equity Foundation that would make investments in digital inclusion and digital literacy programs and projects across the country.

Budget Wins in 2022

$650 Million

In one-time funding to address barriers to learning; provide grants to faculty to develop online, accelerated learning modules; and create professional development opportunities for faculty and student services professionals. This funding will help close the digital divide and is dubbed "Connect CA Kids".

$550 Million

For additional Broadband Last and Middle-Mile infrastructure

$250 Million

To meet additional needs associated with the revised scope of the statewide Middle Mile program

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