Companies Help Bridge Technology Divide Among California Students

SACRAMENTO (CBSLA) — Several companies are partnering with the state of California to address digital inequity among students.

Gov. Gavin Newsom released a list on Monday of partnerships that will help families without access to the technology they need for distance learning in the absence of physical classes during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to his office, about one in five students reported not having high-speed Internet or an appropriate computing device at home.

50% of low-income families and 42% of families of color reported that they didn’t have devices they needed to access distance learning, parents said in a survey conducted last week.

To address the need, Newsom said that more than 70,000 laptops, tablets and Chromebooks will be made available to students.

“It is imperative that California addresses the inequities in access to computers, technology tools and connectivity to ensure that online learning can in fact reach all of California’s children,” Newsom said in a statement. “It’s inspiring to see parents, teachers, businesses and philanthropy step up to meet this moment and provide tools to help bridge the digital divide and get more students connected.”

Private partnerships with T-Mobile, Amazon, Zoom, Microsoft, AT&T, Apple, Verizon and other companies and organizations are helping to provide devices and resources to families and educators.

The California Public Utilities Commission and California Department of Education (CDE) are also partnering to distribute $30 million to support connectivity.

The city of Sacramento is utilizing seven transit buses by turning them into super hotspots to provide high-speed Internet services to nearby locations.

A list of commitments made to the state were provided on Newsom’s website.

Visit covid19.ca.gov or covid19.ca.gov/es read more about resources available for Californians impacted by the coronavirus.