Throughout the pandemic, a number of everyday activities—from distance learning to job retraining—have required an internet connection, and yet 9.6%, or 1.25 million households in California remain unconnected.
To help narrow the digital divide in California and address the need for reliable internet access, Verizon and the Los Angeles Unified School District have expanded their existing partnership to provide eligible families with access to mobile broadband plans, voice service plans, and equipment through state, local, or non-profit organizations in California.
Los Angeles Unified first partnered with Verizon on its distance learning program in the early days of nationwide COVID-19-related school closures in March, 2020. The landmark agreement enabled Los Angeles Unified to provide internet access to students whose families could not otherwise afford it.
Through this new amendment to the original agreement, Los Angeles Unified became the latest partner in Verizon’s new national digital inclusion program, which includes the Georgia Department of Education and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The program consists of discounted agreements that support economic and social development by enabling state and local government agencies, school districts or non-profit organizations to provide affordable internet access to low income families and individuals.
The Los Angeles Unified amendment also serves to expand the existing distance learning program to enable public libraries to benefit from the same contract terms as California K-12 schools.
“Internet access has become an essential learning tool for students and their families, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Los Angeles Unified Interim Superintendent Megan K. Reilly. “Last year Los Angeles Unified created the original pathway to connect students with our school community, and we’re thrilled that families throughout California will be able to access even greater affordable internet in partnership with Verizon.”
“This new phase of our landmark partnership with Los Angeles Unified extends our remote learning program to include other populations in California that need internet access to continue their education, retrain for a job or complete other critical tasks online,” said Jennifer Chronis, Senior Vice President, Verizon Public Sector. “This amendment to our long-standing partnership with Los Angeles Unified is the next step in our commitment to ensure that everyone who needs access to a reliable connection in California—and across the nation—has the ability to access it.”