While More Americans Rely on Parking Lot Wi-Fi, Many Public Libraries Do Not Have Adequate Broadband
BY COLIN RHINESMITH, JO DUTILLOY & SUSAN KENNEDY
BENTON INSTITUTE FOR BROADBAND & SOCIETY
PUBLISHED MAY 6, 2020
"Many digital equity advocates applauded the Federal Communications Commission’s recent clarification explicitly allowing public schools and libraries to let their communities access E-Rate-supported Wi-Fi services while their buildings are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. This development will hopefully make public libraries feel more comfortable sharing their E-Rate-supported Wi-Fi access without fearing any penalties from the FCC. And, as Cecelia Kang’s recent New York Times article shows, this development is sorely needed particularly for those reliant on public library parking lot internet access in communities across the U.S."
BY GWYNETH DOLAND, NEW MEXICO IN DEPTH | MAY 4, 2020
"When the University of New Mexico announced March 19 that all spring semester classes would move online and all students should move out of the dorms, 21-year-old communications major Hannah John went home. But she couldn’t stay long.
Tall Ponderosa pines are the major architectural feature of Vanderwagen, population 1,700. Sandwiched between the Navajo Nation and Zuni Pueblo along New Mexico’s western border, it’s about half an hour away from Wingate High School, a Bureau of Indian Education school, where John’s parents teach. The school has been online since the 1990s, but at home in Vanderwagen, John’s internet is still spotty.
'I went home for a week to test it out, but it was super slow,' John said in a phone interview. 'It wouldn’t Zoom or anything.'"
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) –
"Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and city officials held a press conference on Thursday to provide updates on the local coronavirus response and also unveiled a new plan that provides free, high-speed wireless internet to local students and families.
PNM has partnered with the New Mexico Small Business Development Center and has activated its call center to assist small businesses to sift through information and help them access funds.
Lovelace Medical Center has opened a pop-up shop next to the cafeteria that allows healthcare workers shop for food.
Presbyterian Hospital is offering food donation guidance. Items provided to healthcare workers are greatly appreciated and must be prepackaged and nonperishable. Those with questions can refer to 311 or Presbyterian for additional information.
The Department of Workforce Solutions will now offer one-time grants in the amount of $750 each to self-employed individuals affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The Self-Employed Stimulus Payment will be available for the first 2,000 applicants that qualify.
WiFi on Wheels
The Keller administration announced phase one of their new drive-up WiFi site program also known as WiFi on Wheels. The program aims to close the gap for high speed internet and makes internet access available to vulnerable populations.
Census data reports that 73% of New Mexico has a broadband connection below the 81% national average. This makes New Mexico second to last in the country in respect to broadband access.
This drive-up WiFi program will provide free internet access at 80 new hotspots around Albuquerque including sites at meal distribution locations and at APS schools. The City of Albuquerque has created a map of outdoor free WiFi sites that is available online and will be
distributed at meal sites.
This map will be available in several languages and will be updated daily with additional sites as they are added. Currently, in the initial phase of the program the city is providing free WiFi at:
Eight of the most frequented APS grab and go meal sites:
Chaparral Elementary School, Dennis Chavez Elementary School, Helen Cordero Elementary School, James Monroe Middle School, Rudolfo Anaya Elementary School, Sierra Vista Elementary School, Truman Middle School
Six high schools during Chromebook distribution: Albuquerque High School, Atrisco Heritage Academy, Highland High School, Manzano High School, Rio Grande High School, and West Mesa High School,
Erna Fergusson Public Library, Juan Tabo Public Library, Lomas Tramway Public Library, Manzano Mesa Multi-Gen Center, San Pedro Public Library, Taylor Ranch Public Library, Westgate Heights Public Library
Additional cites will be announced as soon as they are available.
Sun Vans and city vehicles at the locations will display signs identifying them as a WiFi site. The vans will allow anyone who parks in a 100-foot radius to access the internet through a hotspot.
The public is asked to remain in their cars to promote social distancing. The mobile hotspots at APS meal sites will operate during meal site hours Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. WiFi at city facilities will take place everyday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Hotspots can support up to 10 devices and city officials hope to increase this number to 15 in the near future.
Starting at 1:00 PM EDT
Watch and ask questions now at: https://itif.org/online-education
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the digital divide affecting millions of American families, especially those in low-income households and rural areas. One of the most pernicious challenges is the “homework gap”—the divide between those students who have reliable access to computers and high-speed Internet access in their homes and those who do not. This divide makes it difficult for many children to complete their schoolwork and connect with their teachers and classmates during a typical school year, and the pandemic has amplified these problems putting them at risk of falling even further behind. What can policymakers do to close the homework gap and provide K-12 students the connectivity and access to computing they need to succeed? And looking beyond the pandemic, what needs to change so that personalized, online learning is a core component of public education?
Please join ITIF for a video webinar featuring remarks by FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, followed by a panel discussion about what policymakers should do to provide more technological innovation in the classroom.
Contact: Rachel Trello at email@example.com N
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation CLICK HERE t Watch
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From: Dana Strong, President, Consumer Services, Comcast Cable
As our country continues to manage the COVID-19 emergency, we recognize
that our company plays an important role in helping our customers stay
connected – to their families, their workplaces, their schools, and the
latest information about the virus – through the Internet.
We also know that for millions of low-income Americans who don’t have
Internet service at home, this uncertain time is going to be even more
difficult to manage. As schools and businesses close and families are
encouraged, or even mandated, to stay home, Internet connectivity
becomes even more important.
At Comcast, we’ve been looking for ways to help through our Internet
Essentials program, which is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive
broadband adoption program for low-income Americans. Since 2011, it has
connected millions of individuals to the Internet.
A hallmark of this program has been our flexibility in adjusting
Internet Essentials to meet the needs of low-income residents in our
footprint. So, effective Monday, we are putting in place two substantial
program enhancements to help these families deal with this crisis.
1. We will make it even easier for low-income families who live in a
Comcast service area to sign up by offering new customers 60 days of
complimentary Internet Essentials service, which is normally available
to all qualified low-income households for $9.95/month.
2. Also, we are increasing Internet speeds for the Internet Essentials
service from 15/2 Mbps to 25/3 Mbps for all new and existing customers,
which will be the speed of the service going forward. In this way, we
will ensure that Internet Essentials customers will be able to use their
Internet service for all their increased needs as a result of this
We want to make it as fast and simple as possible to access this
* To receive the increased Internet speeds, existing customers will
not need to do anything. The new speeds will be rolled out nationally
over the next few days.
* We’ll send all new customers a free self-install kit that includes
a cable modem with a Wi-Fi router. There will be no term contract or
credit check and no shipping fee.
* To sign up, applicants can simply visit
accessible website also includes the option to video chat with customer
service agents in American Sign Language. There are also two dedicated
phone numbers 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.
We’re also reaching out to our thousands of governmental and nonprofit
partners to help us spread the word. Our hope is that broader access
and faster speeds will help all of our Internet Essentials customers
more easily work from home, access educational resources, obtain
important government health care alerts, and stay in contact with their
families during this difficult time.
From: Pueblo of Sandia
Check out the ArcGIS mapping resource created by the Pueblo of Sandia to map COVID-19 locally!
Pueblo of Sandia
GIS Program https://sandiapueblo.nsn.us/lands/gis-program/"In 1996, the Pueblo of Sandia recognized that Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology was a powerful tool to effectively support infrastructure management activities. GIS has the ability to support tribal decision-making by analyzing geographic or spatial information and then developing associated GIS data along with the development of relevant maps and reports. Over the years, the Pueblo of Sandia GIS program has grown into a robust technical services program that provides GIS technology and products related to Enterprise Geodatabase management, asset and infrastructure management, mapping, GIS and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) data collection, GIS Map Books, Portal for ArcGIS and online web mapping applications to the Pueblo of Sandia. The GIS program securely manages and maintains all of the valued cultural, natural, political and infrastructure asset data for the Pueblo of Sandia.
The goal of the Pueblo of Sandia’s GIS Program is to securely manage, maintain and update the Pueblo’s geospatial data efficiently and enforce data integrity. The primary objective was to adopt cutting edge geospatial technology toolsets and modernize the GIS infrastructure to organize and manage all geospatial data with a logical system to move towards building a comprehensive geospatial asset management system. These goals allowed the GIS team to track our spatial assets, maintain records and manage an accurate geospatial data inventory. It also facilitated access and data delivery to all authorized users including our non-GIS audience to data that is centralized and secure that they can adopt and use as a Pueblo-wide decision making tool for planning processes."
"Will the coronavirus change everything? While that sentiment feels true to the enormity of the crisis, it likely isn’t quite right, as scholars from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program have been exploring since the pandemic began. Instead, the COVID-19 crisis seems poised to accelerate or intensify many economic and metropolitan trends that were already underway, with huge implications of their own. Below, scholars weigh in on COVID-19’s long-term impact on businesses, workers, and the nation as a whole."
Check out the Report.
By Marjorie Childress, New Mexico In Depth | Apr 14, 2020 11:56 am
The post COVID-19 strikes Native Americans at high rates in New Mexico appeared first on New Mexico In Depth.
" Native Americans make up almost 37% of the positive COVID-19 cases in New Mexico, more than three times their representation in the state’s population. That’s according to a new data dashboard the state Department of Health unveiled today. Native Americans represent around 11% of the state’s 2 million residents. In comparison, Anglos, who make up 37 percent of New Mexico’s population, represent just under 24% of the state’s positive cases. And Hispanics, 49% of the population, represent just 27% of the positive cases. "
Read the full article »
Interactive New Mexico COVID-19 Map by County
THE BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS offers grant for tribes to support consultants to perform feasibility studies for deployment or expansion of high-speed internet transmitted, variously, through digital subscriber line, cable modem, fiber, wireless, satellite and broadband over power lines.
Click here to review application guidelines.