Long Beach approves Digital Inclusion Roadmap in effort to expand computer, internet access

The City Council of Long Beach, California, USA endorsed a Digital Inclusion Roadmap within its broader Digital Inclusion Master Plan. The roadmap, which was developed following a participatory approach that incorporated input from citizens, identifies some barriers of digital inclusion including the high cost of internet services, poor quality broadband, lack of access to technology, language barriers, and lack of internet and computer literacy. It further pinpoints some strategies to overcome these challenges including offering free or affordable internet, offering free Wi-Fi in parks and libraries, providing one-on-one tutoring for computer and internet usage, and establishing a hotline to help citizens having issues with internet service providers. Additionally, it underscores the disparities in internet access which was aggravated by the COVID-19 crisis. ‘COVID-19 highlighted and brought to light many of the already existing inequities in our city, and among those was the digital divide that posed an additional barrier to many of our students and parents who had to transition from going to school to online schooling,’ noted Long Beach Councilmember Mary Zendejas.