Although the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed internet access into a must for workers and students across the state, the Little Hoover Commission has found in their issue brief that 2.3 million Californians lack access to high-speed internet.
The Little Hoover Commission found that while California offers accessible, low-cost broadband coverage, its speed is considered much slower than in other states. Americans on the whole pay more for slower speeds compared to their foreign counterparts, which the Commission attributed to a lack of competition among internet service providers.
Without offering specific policy suggestions to correct what they call the “digital divide,” the Commission concluded that weakened or no internet connectivity is barring Californians from opportunities in education, work, as well as accessing government resources and services.
Solutions could include California municipalities starting more fiber broadband networks in the state to compete with traditional internet service providers, using either a public or public-private model. Such initiatives have proven successful in Santa Monica, but have failed in San Francisco and Los Angeles.