Google is distributing Chromebooks and mobile hotspots to the rural Californian students. A total of 4000 Chromebooks and free unlimited hotspots will be provided. The company has planned to fund all these 100,000 hotspots for 3 months to help students studying from home.
Many students are forced to limit themselves to their homes as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The 100,000 hotspots will ensure that these students get free and unlimited Wi-Fi for 3 months. The plan that in letter and spirit stands as a helping hand was announced by California state governor Gavin Newsom and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
As per Linda Darling-Hammond from California State Board of Education, there are about 20 percent of students in California who do not have such a Wi-Fi facility. This initiative from the house of Google will be an instant help to them in times of crisis. This plan will slash this data to just the half if you go by the words of Linda from CSBE.
Google is not the lone wolf here. San Francisco Unified has given away over 5,200 Chromebooks to its students since many of the schools had been closed in March. Take the case of Los Angeles Unified that has pledged a massive $ 100 million investment to give away laptops to many students.
Due to a range of constraints, a section of students in the state are not able to access the internet regularly. This section of the student community makes up for the most vulnerable group who could be left behind in times when most of the work is being done indoors. This theme has got a unique name as well. This sort of constraint that is exposed by the current disease outbreak is known as the “homework gap.”
However, the help from Google does not mean that this gap shall be eliminated overnight. There is a grim situation in the underbelly. 162,013 more Wi-Fi access points shall be scarce even after Google’s plan is carried out in a cent percent effective manner. A report from SFGate has suggested these numbers.
There is another problem, as well. It is known that the company shall be giving away mobile hotspots, which is a wonderful initiative. But, the question remains who gets to use these access points in those rural locations where there is a connectivity issue. There are many rural areas in the state where the signal would be weak, which would reflect in daily usage.
There is a growing demand for students and academicians from the federal government to work more to level the playing field. Some officers are in view of loaning out Wi-Fi hotspots to allow schools to work with maximum efficiency so that they could make the field even for students coming from all backgrounds. Yet many FCC officials have allowed the schools to negotiate with carriers in order to upgrade their internet infrastructure.