Governor Gavin Newsom announced a partnership with Google to provide students with 4,000 Chromebooks and free mobile Wi-Fi hotspots (free for up to three months) with unlimited broadband internet access to 100,000 rural households, a giant step toward closing the digital divide in the state.
Acknowledging that schools are unlikely to reopen this academic year, the Governor shared that “while campuses may be closed, school is still in session.” He continued stating that the shift to distance learning means increased class time, at home. This public-private partnership helps families and school districts struggling to provide adequate access to distance learning tools as schools around the state make the shift. Google is donating the Chromebooks and will fund the use of the mobile hotspots for the remainder of the school year. The resources will be distributed by the California Department of Education, prioritizing rural communities. Stable, reliable internet access is essential to providing equitable access to education in this new normal, especially in rural areas of the state.
Recognizing the moment of solidarity, Governor Newsom stated, “I am so proud of every sector of our state—private, public, labor—coming together to meet this moment, and I am calling on other companies to match Google’s investment today to ensure our students and teachers have the resources they need to continue their education during this time.”