At this week’s Board meeting, I co-sponsored a Digital Bill of Rights with Supervisor Don Horsley which was passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors. Its purpose is to ensure that all San Mateo County residents, especially those from our most vulnerable communities, can readily access reliable, high-speed internet through a computer or a tablet.
The Covid-19 pandemic has underscored the need for a computer and a dependable high-speed internet connection to carry out essential activities and to access important services, including searching for a job, attending classes, accessing telehealth services, and many others. And, unfortunately, many households throughout California and in our county lack the financial means to obtain high-speed internet service, and as a result, there is a digital divide between those with access to a computer and the internet and those without.
This Digital Bill of Rights resolution aims to close the digital divide by identifying 11 essential digital access needs for all county residents. These include, the ability of all residents to access public Wi-Fi, regardless of income or geographic location. Closing the digital divide is critical to creating more equitable outcomes in education, health, and employment – and now that this has been set as a priority, the next step towards achieving this goal is funding. I will keep you apprised.