Designing a Strategy for Community Wi-Fi in San Jose

In San Jose, approximately 40,000 households and 95,000 people lack access to a reliable internet connection. This digital divide presents significant hurdles for underserved communities, preventing them from using the internet for such crucial activities as furthering their education, developing career skills, applying for jobs, and accessing healthcare options. To offer low-cost or free Wi-Fi access to residents and business owners in these communities, the city created the San Jose Civic Innovation project, which is piloting access strategies that can inform a citywide Wi-Fi strategy.

To support this work, FUSE executive fellow Tauqeer Bashir is analyzing data from the pilot programs, exploring different technology options, and researching varying business models to help develop a strategy for sustainable and cost-effective wireless solutions. Tauqeer is also assisting in researching and procuring resources to move forward with the plan. With the plan in place, San Jose hopes to close its digital divide and chart a course for how telecom and Smart City services can be delivered in urban environments.