Los Angeles schools just made a move that will greatly benefit students from low-income backgrounds.
In making strides to close the digital divide, Government Technology reports that Los Angeles school officials announced a $50 million program to provide students’ homes with free Wi-Fi.
Funding For Free Home Wi-Fi
The outlet shares the statistic that an estimate of 20 percent of students either has families that are unable to pay for broadband service or don’t have enough bandwidth, which restricts them from effectively focusing on their studies.
“Most of the time, a lot of people would be using the Wi-Fi,” Bell High School ninth-grader Ethan Ortega shared, according to the outlet. “And because of that I would have a lot of trouble, especially with my schoolwork. We didn’t even have a solution for it. Because our Internet provider was already like the best we could get.”
L.A.’s school system is combating the critical issue by getting students connected through the program. After negotiating with AT&T and Charter on bulk discounted rates and short-term federal funding covering 96 percent of the cost, the school officials are officially making it happen.
As of now, the program will run for a year for low-income families. However, another year may be on the horizon, according to Supt. Alberto Carvalho. Ultimately, the goal is for permanent funding for free Wi-Fi in these homes.
“Connectivity and universal ubiquitous access to digital content anytime anywhere, whether in school, in the community, in the park or the public library, is a civil right that must be delivered to our generation,” Carvalho said in a kickoff ceremony at Bell High School.
Another initiative for the district is following suit in supporting students to succeed academically.
It was announced by officials that about 60,000 students would be provided with at-home computers in the effort’s initial stage.