The ability to access the internet has become a critical necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Internet access is key to schools’ online learning programs, and is the gateway that connects members of the public who are in need of federal, state, and local emergency information and resources that are obtained online.
However, the reality is that this essential tool has remained out of reach for many. According to American Community Survey Data for L.A. County, approximately 210,000 children have a computer at home, but lack an internet connection. Nearly 283,000 households do not have internet access.
“Today, Los Angeles County is taking a step forward to bridge the gap of internet access — an issue that during the COVID-19 pandemic can quickly become a matter of survival,” stated Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn. “Disasters can act as catalysts, driving change in how programs and services are offered. The WiFi Locator tool is an example of that. Our new portal and outreach support, performed in partnership with 211 L.A. County, will equip L.A. County residents with a one-stop-shop approach to getting internet access.”
The County’s new Locator website is findwifi.lacounty.gov. Any member of the public can dial 2-1-1 to ask for assistance to get information from this website, or can visit the site directly. The website features a search tool, based on the user’s physical address, to connect them to various internet related services, such as internet access services for students, the location of free WiFi spots throughout the County (including free hotspots located in or nearby County libraries and County parks) and contact information for both residential and commercial broadband internet providers and mobile (cellular) internet providers serving the address.