AT&T is Teaming Up with School Districts and Local Nonprofit Organizations to Connect Students to Broadband in LA

Rhonda Johnson
May 3, 2022
Broadband Access and Affordability

AT&T is Teaming Up with School Districts and Local Nonprofit Organizations to Connect Students to Broadband in LA

Today was a great day. I spent the day in the greater Los Angeles area celebrating the value connectivity has on learning and the fact that we’re working together as a community to help connect people who need it the most.

My first stop was Bell High School, located in Southeast Los Angeles County, where we announced that together, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is working with AT&T to provide high-speed broadband to LAUSD students in their homes at no cost to their families. This was made possible through the FCC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund that Congress created as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to ensure distance learning was a possibility for everyone.

It was truly wonderful to see it all come together and to hear families talk about how this will help their children be able to do their online schoolwork at home. Thus far, we have connected 500+ L.A. area homes through this collaboration. And, we are working to get the word out so we can help connect more families.

This is of even greater importance, when you consider that more than 80% of families with students enrolled at LAUSD were living in poverty before the COVID-19 crisis began. During the pandemic, one of the greatest needs for LAUSD, which educates nearly 700,000 students, was providing access to virtual classes and online learning.

We know learning doesn’t only happen within the four walls of a classroom. The internet gives students the ability to learn anywhere, anytime…for those who have connectivity. I hope we’re able to find more ways to work together with government and community leaders across the state of California like we did with the leadership of LAUSD to use these once in a lifetime funds to make the biggest impact possible on our neighbors.

My second stop was at the Salvadoran American Leadership and Education Fund (SALEF) in downtown Los Angeles, where we are opening our 2nd Los Angeles-based Connected Learning Center – and third in California. The goal of our AT&T Connected Learning Centers is to encourage more families to get connected through free access to the internet and education resources that teach the value of broadband and how to use it safely and effectively.

SALEF works to bolster a community of engaged, well-equipped Latino leaders and is dedicated to increasing access to education. I’m proud of our work with SALEF to increase access to education. The center at SALEF will provide Los Angeles students and families with free access to high-speed internet, Wi-Fi, and computers, as well as education and mentoring resources to help them to participate in virtual learning. In all, AT&T is opening more than 20 centers across the country.

During the last few years, it’s been my hope that we can all come together to help bridge the digital divide and connect our communities. Today showed me that, through collaborations like this between nonprofits, schools and businesses, this is indeed happening here in Los Angeles.

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