CHARLOTTE, NC – The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic necessitates that most activities, including school classes and work, be done digitally. However, other residents continue to struggle to gain internet access, resulting in a digital divide throughout the city.
In response to this circumstance, the Access Charlotte initiative was established, with money from the CARES Act totaling $3.25 million. This program strives to ensure that everyone in the city has equal access to the internet, which can help them with their daily life.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was launched in 2020to give direct economic assistance to American workers, families, and small industries affected by the pandemic.
The $3.25 million funds were divided into three different schemes. $1.5 million of the fund was used to provide accessible wifi networks located at several public places and residential areas. Those found in the residential areas will be able to give free internet access to up to 2,000 households. Free internet access was also installed in all buses and trains within the city.
Another $1 million went to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Scool (CMS) to access students’ remote learning. While the rest $750,000 would be used to create the city’s learning labs and establishment of Digital Navigator program.
When asked about the city's top goal for closing the inequalities produced by the pandemic, the mayor responded that it was "digital equity." In the future, Charlotte will look for additional opportunities and collaborations in relation to this program.
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