The city of San Diego, CA continues to expand its free internet and computer resources to residents, in an initiative to close the digital divide. The city’s SD Access 4 All program recently expanded its free WiFi program to 300 more locations around the city. Locations include city libraries and recreation centers, along with over 250 street locations in historically underserved neighborhoods. The city has created a new interactive map on its connectivity website to show where the new public WiFi zones can be found.
“This major expansion of free WiFi across our city is about equity and ensuring every San Diegan has a chance to succeed,” Mayor Todd Gloria said. “Far too many San Diegans have been held back because they have no internet access. This is a first step toward righting that wrong by providing free WiFi at hundreds of locations as well as providing new tools at libraries – from laptops to mobile hotspots – to help residents get connected.”
Along with free public WiFi, the SD Access 4 All program has added hundreds of new laptops to the library’s collection for use on-site for up to two hours at a time. It has purchased 900 mobile hotspots that library patrons can check out for home use for up to 30 days at a time.
The City now has ten outdoor community computer labs equipped with free Wi-Fi. Through a partnership with San Diego Futures Foundation, it is given away over 2,200 of its end-of-life computers so they may be refurbished and offered to individuals who need one. It plans to provide about 800 more computers each year. The Futures Foundation is providing computer training to those who need it and helping recipients find affordable or free internet services.