Municipal Services Committee Chair and Vice Mayor Andy Wilson wants to use word-of-mouth to get more Pasadena residents online.
On Tuesday Wilson asked the city’s Department of Information Technology to conduct outreach to communities in Pasadena which do not have access to reliable high-internet speed so they will learn about government programs for underserved areas or areas with no access to download speeds of 25 MBPS and upload speeds of 3 MBPS.
Wilson made the request to the department after it shared with the committee the various programs being provided by the state, county and city to help those who lack access to the internet.
“I was struck that we have a big swath of our city where people are falling into the category of being underserved in terms of digital connectivity.”
“It seems like there are a lot of subsidies and programs but I feel like if these programs are not well publicized then the public can have a tough time taking advantage of those items,” Wilson said.
According to the department, at least three areas within Pasadena were listed among the target underserved areas which may benefit from the LA County’s Digital Divide Regional Strategic Plan. It failed to identify specific locations of these areas.
The program targets communities within LA County that have 20% or more households without internet access. The plan’s goal is to increase accessibility, provide digital devices and empower communities with digital literacy.
Currently, there are three providers of residential wired internet services in Pasadena. These are Spectrum, AT&T and Frontier Communications.
Despite saying that there are still underserved areas in the city, the Department of Information Technology also said 99.7 % of Pasadena households have access to service from two or more wired internet providers.
The department said major investments are underway by all wireless carriers to support 5G and speeds of over 100 MBPS.
Among the programs for the underserved also mentioned by the department is the Affordable Connectivity Program, (ACP) which provides $30 monthly internet subsidy and $100 one-time discount on purchase of laptop or similar device.
Beneficiaries of SNAP, Medicaid, Housing Assistance and free or reduced school lunch or breakfast programs, among other programs, are automatically eligible for the ACP.
Meanwhile in Pasadena, free public WIFI is being offered in all city libraries and community centers. The Pasadena Unified School District also provides wifi at campuses for its students and staff, according to the Department of Information Technology.