connect / 2016
Bringing free high-speed internet and mobile phone service to low-income families in Los Angeles
Are any other organizations collaborating on this proposal?
Techstars, COX Enterprises
Please describe your project proposal.
Over 650,000 households in LA earning less than $50K/year do not have internet at home (based on 2013 estimates). Drizzle will build an online platform to deliver free internet and phone service to these lower-income families. Qualifying families use our platform to get phone and internet service from local providers who subsidize prices (e.g. COX, AT&T, Sprint). Remaining costs are paid by retailers on our platform who give cash-back rewards on families’ everyday purchases (gas, food, clothes).
Which of the connect metrics will your proposal impact?
- Access to free wifi
- Total number of local social media friends and connections Angelenos have
- Voting rates
In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- San Gabriel Valley
- County of Los Angeles
Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to connect?
Drizzle will make LA the best place to connect by bringing high-speed internet (at least 5Mbps download) and phone service to all Angelenos.
Internet connection and cell phone service have become essential to staying involved in one’s community and the world. Internet access is now necessary to research and complete school assignments, apply to jobs, access affordable healthcare and other social services, and participate in politics and social media. Cell phone service is important to stay connected with friends and family no matter where you go.
Unfortunately, low-income families do not have equal connection as wealthier families. A survey in 2013 by digitalequality.net estimated that while over 92% of families in LA County earning $100,000 or more per year had internet connection at home, only 43% of families earning less than $25,00 per year had connection. The survey estimated that over 650,000 households earning less than $50,000 per year in LA County lacked internet connection. Furthermore, low-income families with internet access typically have poorer service and frequently lose connection due to inability to pay.
Drizzle will help close this digital divide by providing a way for low-income families in LA to receive free, high-speed internet and cell phone service.
This will have a significant impact on education and job opportunities for low-income families in LA. Students will be able to research, complete assignments, and take classes online from home. Adults will be able to search more job opportunities, apply online, or even work from home. In addition, families will have greater access to affordable healthcare and social services by using online resources. Giving more people the opportunity to learn and thrive will diversify and increase talent in LA.
Drizzle will also engage more people in the greater Los Angeles community. With greater internet access, lower-income individuals will be able to interact more on social media and discover events and opportunities in LA. They will also be able to register to vote online and better voice their political opinions. These effects will increase the number of social connections between Angelenos and bring a wider variety of experiences and viewpoints to LA culture.
By making internet and phone service more accessible to low-income Angelenos, we will develop a more inclusive community and make LA the best place to connect both online and in person.
Please see our full infographic description at http://blog.getdrizzle.com/la2050-challenge/
See Digital Equality research metrics here: http://digitalequality.net/research/digital-disconnectedness/
Data for Los Angeles county here: http://digitalequality.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/LA-from-CA-Connects-Demographic-and-Connectedness-Profiles.pdf
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.
Our primary long-term goal is to increase the percentage of low-income households in LA who have mobile phone service and high-speed internet at home. In doing so, we aim to improve access to jobs, education, healthcare, political activity, and social interaction for low-income families in LA.
We will measure the success of our platform by the following metrics:
- the number of internet providers and retailers who partner with us
- the number of families who receive internet and or phone service on our platform
- our overall area of coverage across LA county (and eventually across CA and the U.S.)
By surveying users on our platform, we will also measure our success by:
- the number of individuals on our platform who start taking online courses or seeking higher education
- the number of individuals on our platform who apply for jobs online
- the number of families on our platform who start receiving affordable healthcare (e.g. by registering with CoveredCA)
- the number of individuals on our platform who register online to vote
- the number of individuals on our platform who join or increase activity on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat)
How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?
- Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles etc.)
- Technical infrastructure (computers etc.)
- Community outreach