We are seeing an evolution of the public-private partnership model during the COVID pandemic. One of the key issues the pandemic has made very clear is how critical it is for everyone to have broadband internet access -- for work, education, and ordering necessary items online. But, such access is not free, nor is it available equally all over (personally, I think it's reached the point it should be treated as a utility, like water and electricity, but that's probably a conversation for another time).
The City of San Jose is meeting this need by teaming with AT&T to offer 8,000 WiFi hotspots with free high-speed internet and unlimited 4G LTE plans. The devices are being allocated to densely populated areas with K-12 students, low-income households, and households lacking digital access. Another example of how the public and private sectors can team together to accomplish public good that neither could do by themselves.
"It's not just the children who benefit, of course. Up to 15 devices can be used in any of these homes with the benefit of this hotspot and so this opens up the world of possibilities certainly to the child who needs to be learning online, but also to the parent who needs to be looking for a job or perhaps for health care information online and all the other ways we critically depend on broadband as connection," Liccardo said.