The City of Dallas is working to bring free Wi-Fi to some neighborhoods in the city in an attempt to help get more residents online that otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford internet services.
The free internet expansion came as exciting news for Dallas council members.
“Free community Wi-Fi is now available in select Dallas neighborhoods,” District 7 Council Member Adam Bazaldua wrote in a June 26 tweet. “Get connected!”
According to the city’s website, the COVID-19 pandemic motivated the city to act toward closing the severe digital divide among its residents.
“People want to apply for jobs. They’ll have the opportunity to apply from home, as opposed to having to go to the library or somewhere else. And so I think this is a great, great opportunity,” council member Cast Thomas told NBC DFW.
According to the same report, council member Jamie Resendez said she’d like to see the city become the “most connected” in the country. Dallas Public Works Director Robert Perez also said the city is working with the county to find other locations with existing infrastructure that would be conducive for Wi-Fi antennas.
“We’re looking at water towers, anything that is a city-owned asset that we could leverage to put this equipment on,” Perez said, according to NBC DFW. “We are researching every asset and every avenue that we have available to help make this work.”
Although the project had been in the works since 2019, the pandemic sparked a sense of urgency for it, with many students doing school work remotely and other residents working from home.
NBC DFW reported the city invested $2 million in federal COVID-19 relief money from the CARES program into widespread Wi-Fi accessibility.
Currently at least 3,000 residents have access to free Wi-Fi, according to NBC DFW.