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Louisiana broadband officials seek help of local businesses to combat the digital divide

Veneeth Ayengar, executive director of ConnectLA, leading a discussion on broadband expansion and development at the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce.

One of the multiple inequities highlighted by the ongoing pandemic in Louisiana was access to high-speed internet.

While multiple schools and businesses have switched to remote platforms for the better part of the last two years, for thousands of Louisianans, access to the internet is still unreliable.

But Louisiana’s Office of Broadband Development & Connectivity is trying to make high-speed internet more accessible, specifically in rural areas. Last Wednesday, the office received over 150 proposals with ideas to provide high-speed internet access to more than 200,000 households and more than 10,000 businesses.

Louisiana Considered producer Alana Schreiber spoke with Veneeth Iyengar, executive director of ConnectLA, about plans to combat the state’s digital divide.

Alana Schreiber is the managing producer for the live daily news program, Louisiana Considered. She comes to WRKF from KUNC in Northern Colorado, where she worked as a radio producer for the daily news magazine, Colorado Edition. She has previously interned for Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul and The Documentary Group in New York City.