“I usually have to ask my mom and dad to take me to the library or McDonald’s, even just to get Wi-Fi to get my homework done. It’s very stressful at times because sometimes we don’t even have any gas in the car to go anywhere, and I have to explain to my teachers why I can’t complete the assignment.”
Aaliyah Juanico, a first-year student at Farmington High School in New Mexico, is one of many students the digital divide has left stranded without regular access to a high-speed Internet connection. The featured video from KNME-TC’s New Mexico in Focus highlights measures undertaken in Farmington to provide more free access points.
The library at San Juan College lends mobile hotspots to patrons. Monitoring data usage to avoid overages has been a challenge for the program, and the waiting list to borrow a hotspot is long. The Boys and Girls Club of Farmington provides free Wi-Fi, as does the high school. Staff at both locations attest to Wi-Fi users gathering in the parking lots after hours and on weekends.
As you return to work, consider what your school or institution does to address the digital divide. Do you have printed information handy? Free Wi-Fi in the waiting room? What else can we do to ensure access for all?