L.A. councilman proposes new department to improve broadband internet access

Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian has proposed creating a new department to provide affordable broadband internet services to residents.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

A city councilman proposed that Los Angeles study creating a new publicly owned and operated department to provide affordable broadband internet services to residents.

According to a motion introduced by Councilman Paul Krekorian, the new department’s mission would be to improve the city’s network capabilities, provide community and economic development with at-cost internet service to businesses and residents and bridge the digital divide among neighborhoods lacking high-speed services.

“Los Angeles owns a network of fiber-optic cable that runs through every part of the city,’' Krekorian said. ``I want to see if we can maximize its use and ensure that everyone has access to fast, affordable internet services.’'

The motion cited a USC Annenberg School study that found most communities in Los Angeles have only one choice in wire-line broadband providers, which leads to lost economic opportunities in low-income areas of the city. The motion also said that by scrapping net neutrality protections, the federal government has abandoned its commitment to keep broadband customers free from interference in their internet usage by powerful monopolies.