San Jose making rapid progress in closing the digital divide

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The rift that separates the have's from the have-not's in the digital age is quickly closing in East San Jose, as the city has reported rapid progress connecting low-income families to high-speed Internet.

So far, San Jose has helped connect fifty-thousand families to high speed Internet, and Mayor Sam Liccardo said over the next two years they plan to connect an additional 300-thousand families.

“300-thousand is the population of the city of Saint Louis,” he said. “That is what we are doing for the residents in East San Jose.”

Much of that progress is thanks to state and federal funding for distance learning, but also from an E-Bond that was passed in 2015.

Before the first day of school this year, San Jose distributed eight thousand hot-spots to families that needed high speed Internet, but city Library director Jill Bourne told KCBS Radio that many districts didn't have enough hot spots, so they quickly approved an additional 4,800.

“There’s a lot of work to do,” she said. “We’re already getting great feedback from parents and students letting us know that what a difference quality, consistent connectivity is making in their distance education effort.”

Starting this week, hot spots can also be checked out at all San Jose libraries for up to 90 days.