October 23, 2023 | From City of New Orleans

City of New Orleans Encourages Residents to Complete Slow Internet Challenge to Address Digital Divide

NEW ORLEANS — The City of New Orleans Office of Information Technology and Innovation (ITI), in partnership with ConnectLA, today announced the launch of the Slow Internet Challenge to address the digital divide throughout the city and increase access to fast, reliable internet services for all residents. ConnectLA, housed in the Louisiana Division of Administration’s Office of Broadband Development and Connectivity, serves as the official resource for the State of Louisiana and has an ambitious but feasible goal of eliminating the digital divide by 2029. 

The Slow Internet Challenge will ultimately help address digital literacy by educating the public on the importance of internet access and raising awareness of existing services in the city. This challenge is crafted to provide an easy and swift method for residents to participate. To join the challenge, visit to participate by Wednesday, Nov. 1.  

“The Slow Internet Challenge is a real opportunity to change the internet game in New Orleans,” said Chief Information Officer Kimberly LaGrue. “We know the internet is not available or not sufficient for many households across our city, and this is our chance to prove it. The results mean more money to build better, faster and more affordable internet service New Orleans residents need and deserve, and the more data we collect ensures the best possible outcome for the City and its people.” 

This challenge is directly aligned with the Cantrell Administration’s Digital Equity Initiative launched in 2018. The City has also partnered with Comp-U-Dopt, a nonprofit organization focused on providing technology access and education, to distribute 500 laptops to residents since 2020. In 2022, the City introduced an extension of the digital equity initiative, coupled with wraparound services, during a series of community meetings to address the lack of affordable internet connectivity and to promote economic development while bridging the digital divide in underserved communities.  

The purpose of this challenge is to collect the most accurate internet service data possible from within Orleans Parish. The collected data will then be submitted to ConnectLA. Based on the results, the challenge will help increase Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program funding, ultimately improving internet services for residents and businesses across the city. The main goal of ConnectLA is to bring together federal, state and local municipalities to coordinate the best practices to achieve this goal.  

On June 26, the Biden Administration announced the distribution of over $40 billion in direct state funding to ensure that internet access is available to all Americans. The State of Louisiana received $1.6 billion to connect residents to affordable, reliable high-speed internet service. In Louisiana, and more specifically in New Orleans, it is common knowledge that internet connectivity is not accessible for many residents. A citywide survey found that 44 percent of young people in New Orleans live in poverty and do not have adequate internet access. Louisiana was the first state to receive broadband award approval as a part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.  


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