DORAL, FL – Starting this month, Miami-Dade under-resourced students will have free home Internet thanks to a project called “Miami Connected”.
This is a program in which Comcast, the Miami Foundation and Achieve Miami will be involved in order to bring free broadband connectivity, digital literacy and career opportunities in technology to more than 100,000 students and their families in Miami-Dade County, reported South Florida Caribbean News.
The aim is to make Miami-Dade “the most technologically inclusive county in the nation” since currently more than one in five Miami-Dade County residents are disconnected from the internet. Miami is the second least-connected large city in the United States, according to the report.
Comcast is going to be the internet provider while the Miami Foundation made the initiative possible due to a $5 million donation given to the organization. Achieve Miami, on the other hand, will be in charge of turning this project into a reality.
“We are partnering with Comcast and the Comcast Internet Essentials program to be able to register eligible families into that service and to receive two years of paid internet service,” said Sarah Emmons, the executive director of Achieve Miami, to South Florida 6.
Other partners that will join this initiative include Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho, the City of Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, philanthropist and Citadel Founder and CEO Ken Griffin, and the Children’s Trust, philanthropist and Achieve Miami Founder Leslie Miller Saiontz, among others.
Free home Internet spread in phases
Miami Connected will provide free internet to eligible families by phases. The first one starts this month and will benefit approximately 222,000 M-DCPS students in four Miami-Dade County neighborhoods beginning in Overtown. Then, it will extend to Little Haiti, Liberty City and Homestead.
Phase Two will provide the service on a school-by-school basis to serve all under-resourced communities, focusing especially in the areas where home internet access is severely limited or does not exist.
Under this program, students who have been using a laptop from Miami-Dade County Public Schools since last fall will be able to use it at home to complete schoolwork without connectivity barriers.
“One year after we were forced to temporarily shut down the physical schoolhouse, it is evident that this pandemic has negatively impacted under-resourced neighborhoods much more than others in our community,” said Superintendent of Schools Alberto M. Carvalho, as cited by South Florida Caribbean News.
“With 52 percent of M-DCPS students engaging in online learning and the remaining 48 percent in the classroom still heavily relying on consistent broadband access to achieve educational success, high-quality home internet has become a necessity for our region’s young learners,” he added.
But this initiative will not only focus on providing at home free internet. In addition, Miami Connected will teach students and their families the skills they need to use their devices and become digitally literate.
“In order to be the most technologically inclusive city in the nation, we must ensure that all children and families have access to the internet and digital literacy tools, and we must foster highly inclusive workplaces that reflect the diversity of our incredible region,” said Rebecca Fishman Lipsey, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation.
Families interested in applying for this project, can do so at https://www.miamiconnected.com/. The sign-up agreement lasts two years.