Sign Up By Dec 30: Free Broadband and Hotspots Available to Sacramento Households in Need During Pandemic

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SACRAMENTO (12/7/20) – Sacramento households affected by the pandemic, particularly those that are low-income with children and seniors, can apply for free broadband or hotspots by Dec. 30 through the City of Sacramento and United Way California Capital Region Digital Equity program. Funded through the federal CARES Act, the Digital Equity program already has provided nearly 1,000 Sacramento households with free broadband through the Comcast Internet Essentials program or an AT&T mobile hotspot that provides a year of free Wi-Fi coverage through a device that can transmit from anywhere. To qualify, an applicant must be a City of Sacramento resident and eligible for public assistance programs such as the National School Lunch Program, Medicaid or WIC. To apply and learn more, call 211 or visit

sacramentocovidrelief.org/digital.

“We are honored to partner with the city to provide Sacramento residents in need with equal access to the technology necessary to succeed during the pandemic,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “This project is an important element of United Way’s Square One Project that is working to make sure families have the tools and resources they need so kids can graduate from high school ready for success in college or career. There is no doubt that Internet access and technology will play an increasingly vital role in kids’ success in school.”

The Digital Equity program aims to address unequal access to technology, known as the digital divide, which has expanded during the pandemic. The program is contracting with community-based nonprofits and school districts to provide outreach, identify households in need and house “digital champions” who will work on outreach, case management and training in targeted geographic areas. Digital champions are community residents with technology skill sets who are trained to help households with broadband application and provide basic digital literacy education. As part of the program, 400 Sacramento households received free refurbished Dell Chromebooks this past month.

Of the more than 24 million unconnected households nationwide, the digital divide  disproportionately affects minority and low-income populations. According to the Federal Communications Commission, 35 percent of adults who do not use broadband at home are older, poorer, less educated, more likely to be a racial or ethnic minority, and more likely to have a disability than those with a home connection.

“The pandemic has only made the digital divide greater in our communities and it is critical that we work to bridge this gap,” said Mayor Pro Tem Angelique Ashby. “These free digital resources can help our local students, families and seniors affected by the pandemic stay connected. With only a few weeks left to access these vital digital services, we encourage Sacramentans in need to apply right away.”

For nearly 100 years, United Way California Capital Region has brought local people together to make community change happen. Today, the nonprofit is bringing people together across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties for its Square One Project, a 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of students in our region who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. United Way believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones and their families receive support and resources. To learn more and make a donation, visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org.