Darriya Starr

Did Pandemic Aid Narrow the Digital Divide?

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, 40% of California's Pre-K–12 households lacked “full digital access,” or reliable access to high-speed internet and a connected device, according to Census Bureau data. As part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) committed about $6.8 billion for schools and libraries to narrow the digital divide. As of the third and final funding window (fo

Achieving Universal Broadband in California

While most Californians have access to broadband, at least two million households (15 percent) still do not—a gap known as the digital divide. In 2021, California invested $6 billion through Senate Bill (SB) 156 to expand broadband infrastructure, address affordability, and promote digital literacy. The Public Policy Institute of California presents findings from the first year of implementation, drawing on statewide broadband data and interviews with 41 community partners, spread across 54 of California’s 58 counties. The Institute finds that: