LONG BEACH, Calif. - With online connectivity more important than ever, the city of Long Beach announced a new internet service and computing device program to help residents in need connect to free digital inclusion resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a Long Beach press release, the "Digital Inclusion Program" is part of the Digital Inclusion Initiative, which received $1,000,000 in support from the city’s coronavirus aid, relief and financial security legislation approved by the city council in July.
More than 550 tablets with keyboards and 250 mobile hotspots will be distributed through the program and will include a one-year paid internet service plan on a first-come, first-served basis. Applicants are required to provide proof of eligible income that is 200% below the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
"This program provides important technical resources for maintaining ties between residents and their families, which is more important than ever during a pandemic," Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement.
The program is led by the Long Beach Technology and Innovation Division in Partnership with the nonprofit human-IT and Long Beach Public Library.
Residents can apply for the program by calling the city’s Digital Inclusion Resources Hotline (562) 570-7000 from 8 am to 5 pm on weekdays. The hotline is closed every other Friday due to the city’s temporary dismissal schedule. Distribution of mobile hotspots and tablets will begin following a review of the application conducted by city officials called the Digital Inclusion Navigator.