The city of Chula Vista unveiled details on a new plan to provide its residents access to the Internet – the first of its kind in San Diego County.
Last month, the Chula Vista City Council voted unanimously in favor of adopting a Digital Equity and Inclusion Plan, which aims to provide vulnerable communities in the city with Internet access and technology devices.
As of now, 11.4% of Chula Vista’s residents do not have an Internet subscription despite service being available at nearly 99% of residencies in the city. And, 4.7% of the population do not own a device they can use the Internet with.
Communities that are “most impacted by the digital divide” are seniors, students disabled residents, housing insecure and homeless individuals, low-income and unbanked residents, job-seekers, non-English speakers migrants and refugees.
“None of us saw COVID-19 coming when we were working on this plan, but this crisis has emphasized how critically important it is for our entire community to be able to connect to services online,” Mayor Mary Salas said in a statement. “Many of our residents who need services, like food deliveries for seniors or unemployment information, don’t have a smartphone or high-speed internet. That really makes a difference in our ability to meet people’s needs.”
In the plan, local leaders laid out goals and strategic actions the city will make in order to execute their objectives to help those in need. Such goals include offering computer classes at the senior center and library and improving the city’s website to make it more accessible for those with disabilities and those who do not speak English.
Chula Vista will also strive to pursue grants and partnerships with organizations to offer services and programs to residents like mobile WiFi hotspots or low-costing computer devices.