The Citywide Classroom program expands internet access in South Bend
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- More free internet for some living in South Bend.
The Citywide Classroom program initially provided Wi-Fi hotspots to households with students enrolled to South Bend community schools for one year, but they have just announced that those households will have internet access for longer.
The city of South Bend, the SBCSC and non-profit organization enFocus partnered to created the Citywide Classroom South Bend, in an effort to provide households without home internet access.
“In 2018 we found a study that said about 30% of households in the South Bend area do not have a broadband connection," said Madi Rogers, a project manager at enFocus.
The program provides free Wi-Fi hotspots to eligible homes with students in need of internet access.
“You can connect to these using your phone, a tablet, computer," said Rogers, demonstrating the small, credit card sized device. "It can support up to six devices streaming, and it goes wherever you go because it’s mobile.”
The initial grant to support these hotspots originally lasted one year, but Tuesday, that timeframe expanded-- by a lot.
"We have launched a new program that supports these devices for five years, so anybody who has previously received a free device from us and was only promised one year, they will be given the new five year devices," Rogers said.
And this internet access is meant to provide for more than just the students.
“It also means that families can use it for their own personal or maybe work related things. Or even quality of life improvements. Internet and social media is so prevalent these days and it’s almost a necessity to have access to the internet, not just for schooling, not just for work,” said Rogers.
Interested applicants can apply here: www.citywideclassroomsb.org/apply