Addressing the Digital Divide in the City of Los Angeles

The digital divide, commonly defined as the economic, educational, and social inequalities between those who have computers and online access and those who do not, is an ongoing and pernicious issue that afflicts many people and communities across the City of Los Angeles.

In this report, LAEDC analyzes the digital divide as it pertains to the City of Los Angeles and provides actionable information specifically to the Bureau of Street Lighting. We do so by presenting a comprehensive theoretical framework on the digital divide that leverages the prior work of others. Based on this framework, we develop a unique “digital distress” metric, which we then use to examine the extent of the digital divide across the City and identify areas where the problem is most severe and populations that are most exposed. We also estimate the economic benefit to the City of closing the digital divide.

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