SAN RAFAEL, CA — Low-cost WiFi networks are set to rollout in the Canal Neighborhood later this summer, part of an effort to bridge the digital divide at a time when the coronavirus shutdown is continuing to force schools to hold classes online.
According to a news release, the network equipment has already been purchased and installation is expected last several weeks. The WiFi networks are expected to go live later this summer, in time for students to benefit once the new school year rolls around.
"The COVID-19 has amplified the community’s digital equity issues, most notably for students in the Canal neighborhood who are at home without quality WiFi or without any internet access,” said Dennis Rodoni, Marin County District 4 Supervisor. "The network is part of a larger solution to address the broadband and internet needs in Marin County.
To that end, WiFi hotspots will be installed where they will impact "the most vulnerable students," while a second system, which uses less bandwidth, "will be tailored for residents," the news release said.
The cost of the project is estimated to run $250,000, of which half has been donated by the Marin Community Foundation. Backers also include Canal Alliance, San Rafael City Schools, MarinIT, DC Electric, and private donors.