Oakland, CA – Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan, who serves as Oakland’s Council Member At-Large, calls for publicly accessible WiFi for Oakland’s communities. Kaplan has been working to expand access to internet and related technologies, especially for Oakland’s under-served communities. The COVID-19 emergency has pushed many more to rely on the internet for work, school, and core community needs. But while there has been expanded need for internet based services, there has not been universal availability of internet services.
“The lack of internet access has been a challenge for many, and now, with places like libraries and cafes closed, and students expected to do remote learning online and employees expected to engage in remote working, the lack of adequate internet access harms our community even more.” – Council President Rebecca Kaplan
The lack of access to internet services is especially difficult for our lower-income families, including students. Not only are they struggling with the upheaval and severe changes that COVID-19 brought to their lives, they are struggling to learn via distance learning. Learning is made that much harder when a child is peering into the Digital Divide.
The COVID emergency has underlined the need for publicly accessible WiFi. In addition, with new infrastructure installations, we have growing opportunities to address these challenges. Due to the work and advocacy over the years, from President Kaplan and more, the installation of the AC Transit Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line, along E14th St/International Blvd and into Broadway in Oakland, will include high-speed fiber-optic cable, which can be used to expand access to internet services.
“In the face of COVID-19 response, our efforts should include expanding availability of internet service to the public, including for those who cannot afford service. Recent infrastructure investments, including the AC Transit BRT project, include fiber optic installations we sought, which can be used to help make this a reality. These improvements should be used to help our local small businesses, families, and community to have the service they need. The shelter in place and related responses to prevent spread of disease makes this service essential now!” – said Council President Rebecca Kaplan
Note: Oakland Councilmember At-Large Rebecca Kaplan is an honor graduate from MIT and was elected in 2008 to serve as Oakland’s citywide Councilmember, she was re-elected in 2016.She also serves on the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC).
Follow Councilmember Kaplan on Twitter @Kaplan4Oakland and Facebook.
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