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Sacramento wants to give free internet to low-income residents amid pandemic

Having home internet during the pandemic is essential with people working from home, trying to order groceries and do distance learning.

SACRAMENTO, Calif — Elizabeth Cordova is on social security and disability while raising her two granddaughters who have special needs.

The Sacramento resident said having reliable internet in her home is needed now more than ever, but getting a solid internet connection is more difficult than it is for most.

"I live right by a big huge hotel, so I can get that for when my internet is not doing well. I get that as a hot spot," Cordova said.

Cordova said that she needs Wifi so that she can connect to the outside world while she continues to limit her time outdoors due to being at a higher risk to catch the coronavirus.

"Very, very frustrating financially, because the internet is very expensive," Cordova said.

Cordova isn't the only one finding it hard to stay online during the pandemic, which is why Sacramento city leaders want to use federal money to help residents get online.

"We estimate there to be over 10,000 households that are not WiFi connected," said Councilmember Angelique Ashby.

Ashby said if the vote passes during the Sacramento City Council meeting on Tuesday, the city will partner with Comcast to bring more households free internet.

It would mean people will not have to drive to library parking lots or rely on a hotspot to have access to essentials.

Low-income residents who qualify for the program and can apply online or through the phone by calling 311. Ashby said this is just the first step bridging the digital divide that has left many struggling to get by.

"For 10,000 households that sign up for the Comcast program where they get the two months free, the City of Sacramento is then going to pay for an additional six months, so folks can have the internet in their home for free till the end of 2020," Ashby said.

Follow the conversation on Facebook with Monica Coleman.

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