Los Angeles Becomes First U.S. City to Outlaw Digital Discrimination

The Los Angeles City Council passed a motion last week to ban “digital discrimination.” This is when internet service providers (ISPs) don’t give high-speed internet to all neighborhoods equally or don’t give neighborhoods of color or low-income people the best deals on their services.

The bill, which was written by Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, added digital discrimination to the types of discrimination the city could look into. People will be able to file reports about digital discrimination, and the city’s Civil, Human Rights, and Equity Department will look into them. The department will have to find out about the people who are complaining and what kind of people they are, as well as any trends. It is also up to the Bureau of Street Lighting to give a report on what the city has done to help close the digital gap.

“Everyone should have access to broadband so they can fully participate in modern society, and no one should be charged more because of where they live,” Harris-Dawson wrote in a thank-you message to backers. “This is a big win, and we’ll push for equality everywhere!”

The bill says, “Many studies have shown the effects of pricing practices in the industry that make the digital divide worse by making it harder for people to afford.” “Studies show that service providers consistently provide worse service to low-income communities at the same price they provide fast, reliable service to higher-income communities. This service is delivered over older technology and is slower.”

Also Read: This Small U.S. City Becomes the Best Place to Retire With No Savings

The Markup released an investigation in 2022 that showed ISPs in 38 U.S. cities, including AT&T in Los Angeles, were giving different households in the same city both fast and slow broadband connections for the same price. Almost always, the worst deals were given to areas that were low-income, less white, and had been redlined in the past.

We found that AT&T was 21% more likely to have bad service for homes in L.A.’s poorest neighborhoods than for homes in the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods. A representative for AT&T said that our research was “fundamentally flawed.”

Around the same time, the California Community Foundation released a study that said Charter Communications, which is L.A.’s biggest cable company, was acting in the same way. “People who live in areas with higher poverty are not only regulary given slower service at higher prices, but they are also given contracts with worse terms and conditions,” the study said. “For instance, Charter’s promotional offers—which promise a certain amount of time before prices go up—last for two years in high-income areas but only one year in low-income areas.”

Grab full information here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.