Newsom Directs State Agencies to Bridge Digital Gaps for Distance Learning

Published On: August 14, 2020

Governor Gavin Newsom announced today that educational agencies in California will each receive a portion of $5.3 billion to mitigate losses and provide distance learning support to millions of students across the state. The Governor also signed an executive order charging state agencies with improving and expanding broadband infrastructure to provide high-speed internet to all Californians.

Over $4 billion of the allocated funds will support students with the most obstacles to digital access. This priority includes low-income or homeless students, those with disabilities, foster youth, and English-learners. The State has already delivered 73,000 devices and 100,000 hotspots to several school districts, across California. Partnerships have also been established with retail companies, such as Apple and Office Depot, to provide discounted computing devices to school districts.

Going further, the Governor’s executive order mobilizes state agencies to improve the state’s broadband infrastructure to expand access to high-speed internet (with a goal of 100 Mpbs download speed) to even the most rural areas, including tribal lands. This effort not only supports the students and school districts, but also the millions of Californians who are now working from home.

The California Broadband Council is expected to deliver a State Broadband Action Plan by the end of the year.

About the Author: Nicole Ebert

Nicole Ebert writes about technology issues. She served as staff at the State Capitol, the California Air Resources Board, and the U.S. EPA. She is a graduate of California State University Sacramento, where she majored in government journalism.