Durham leaders want everyone to have internet access :: WRAL.com

— City leaders in Durham want to bridge the so-called “digital divide,” providing everybody with access to the internet.

Making the internet a reality for everyone is a top priority for local and state leaders after the COVID-19 pandemic, which helped expose the realities of the digital divide across the state and country.

When schools went remote in Durham, many students were struggling to get their hands on tablets, laptops, wireless internet and other tools for learning. As a result, Durham County commissioners on Monday will consider using grants to ramp up internet access, like creating a library on wheels, or a tech mobile with eight computer stations, printing capability, wireless access, a small conference area and an individual one- personal office.

Currently, 13% of households in Durham County, or around 42,000 homes, don’t have broadband internet. A study revealed that 7.3% of households do not have a computer.

Commissioners will discuss using nearly $80,000 to install new devices in the tech mobile and to hire a temporary worker to staff, manage and execute its programming.

Durham Public Schools and dozens of other organizations are partnering with the library to keep the mobile unit running.

WRAL News will be there when commissioners discuss the matter in their work session happening Monday at 9 am

Residents can take the North Carolina Broadband Survey to help the state determine how many people and in which areas need internet access.

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