New Orleans City Council Vice President Helena Moreno is proposing a motion that would make internet access available and free for all residents of New Orleans.
As the pandemic continues to expand in the city and the rest of the United States, social distancing and stay-at-home measures have forced many to work or study remotely, relying on technology. However, internet access is not readily available to all.
According to a study published by The Data Center, it is estimated that 37 percent of New Orleans residents lack access to broadband internet. Similarly, the Orleans Parish School Board released data showing how around 9,000 students lack internet access. This poses a challenge for children who need to resume their studies virtually, parents working remotely, those who are applying for jobs, and for small businesses that need to rethink their platform in order to adapt to the challenges brought about by the pandemic.
In a recent press release, Council VP Moreno said, "We can't let the cost to participate in the economy or in personal empowerment reinforce the existing racial and economic gaps in our communities." Moreno will work with the Cantrell administration, community groups, and other stakeholders in order to start exploring the possibility of making a public WiFi network. This motion will be considered this upcoming Thursday, August 6, at the council's meeting.