Earlier than the coronavirus sparked shutdowns all through North Texas, Dallas metropolis officers greenlighted a pilot program during which library patrons might borrow a cellular Wi-Fi machine for as much as a month.
The funding was an try and bridge the digital divide in Dallas, which ranks among the many worst related for U.S. cities of its dimension.
At first of March — simply earlier than the coronavirus pandemic shuttered colleges and companies — 10 Dallas libraries had obtained 900 sizzling spots for folks to borrow.
Two weeks later, all of them had been checked out.
Whereas the pandemic has highlighted southern Dallas’ digital divide, sizzling spots are offering a lifeline for these with out web entry. However they don’t remedy the issue of web infrastructure, and in some circumstances, is probably not ample for all digital wants.
“There’s an infrastructure and machine hole,” mentioned Stephen Liu, director of technique and mass-scale infrastructure at Cisco, a tech firm. “Though [Dallas is] dense and concrete, all people may not have entry [to internet] as a result of it’s expensive.”
The proposed metropolis finances requires spending $500,000 so as to add 2,100 extra gadgets on the libraries.
The college district can be offering essential assist. With lower than two weeks till Dallas ISD college students begin on-line courses on Sept. 8, the district has distributed greater than 15,500 sizzling spots. Households can even decide up Chromebooks and iPads at alternating pickup areas till the top of August.