Google will present 4,000 Chromebooks and fund using 100,000 Wi-Fi hotspots for rural college students in California, who’re learning from residence because of the COVID-19 pandemic, CNBC reports. The initiative, which was introduced by California governor Gavin Newsom and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, will enable college students to get entry to free and limitless Wi-Fi for at least three months.
In California, EdSource reports that 20 p.c of scholars can’t get on the web. Google’s donation might minimize this quantity in half, in response to California State Board of Schooling Linda Darling-Hammond.
“We’re offering 4,000 Chromebooks to California college students in best want & free wifi to 100,000 rural households in the course of the #COVID19 disaster to make distance studying extra accessible,” Pichai wrote in a tweet. California’s colleges are scheduled to stay closed by way of the tip of the varsity 12 months.
Proud to work with @GavinNewsom & companions to assist bridge the digital divide in our residence state. We’re offering 4,000 Chromebooks to California college students in best want & free wifi to 100,000 rural households in the course of the #COVID19 disaster to make distance studying extra accessible.
— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) April 1, 2020
Nonetheless, extra sources are nonetheless wanted within the state. Newsom estimates that California will want 162,013 extra Wi-Fi entry factors along with these supplied by Google, SFGate reports. There are additionally questions on how helpful the 100okay cell hotspots could be in areas the place mobile sign is weak.
This isn’t only a drawback in California, nonetheless. The so-called “homework hole” exists proper throughout the US, prompting requires the federal authorities to do extra to stage the taking part in area. The FCC has already taken steps to permit colleges to work with carriers to improve their web infrastructure, however one FCC commissioner needs the regulator to go additional, and supply Wi-Fi hotspots immediately to varsities to mortgage out to their college students.
“We should do what we will to assist these efforts succeed for all college students, together with those that fall into the homework hole and are at best danger of being left behind,” FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel wrote in a latest op-ed for The Verge.
Google’s contribution joins current initiatives introduced by Californian colleges to enhance their distant studying efforts. EdSource notes that San Francisco Unified has distributed over 5,200 Chromebooks to its college students since its colleges closed in March, whereas Los Angeles Unified has licensed a $100 million funding to supply laptops for its college students, and is partnering with Verizon to supply web entry.