GONZALES, Calif. (KION) The City of Gonzales was set to launch "Internet for All" and distribute wireless hotspot devices to residents at a Community Summit earlier this month, but since it was canceled due to coronavirus, the city has had to get creative.
On Friday, the city hosted its first drive-thru event for residents to pick up devices. For those who were not able to go Friday, there are two more events scheduled for March 26 and 27 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at 107 Centennial Drive.
“With school closing and many residents in the community not having internet access at home we knew it was important to find a way to deliver the hotspots to residents, while still following the coronavirus health and safety guidelines. We had to get creative,” said City Manager Rene Mendez.
There are 2,000 hotspots available for residents and so far about 1,000 have been distributed. Residents can get one per household with proof of address.
The initiative came about through a partnership between the City of Gonzales and T-Mobile. Through it, residents can get a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot with unlimited high-speed internet access that supports up to 12 connections at the same time for no cost.
In 2017, the city adopted a Broadband Infrastructure Strategy with the goal to provide basic, reliable internet access to every household. The partnership with T-Mobile and the initiative were then approved by the City Council in October 2019. The city said it is the first on the Central Coast to provide basic broadband service to all households.
The city said many American families do not have high speed internet access at home, and having that access allows students to complete there work and advance their education. It also allows access to workforce assistance, telemedicine and banking services among others.
“This initiative is one of the cornerstones of the City’s strategy to continue to improve and serve our residents and is essential for our community to thrive and be competitive in the 21st century,” Mendez said.