The project, which has launched in Chicago, Columbia, Miami and New Orleans, provides wi-fi access locations and relief for families struggling through the pandemic.
Ignite Cities has announced a multi-city Covid-19 wi-fi relief programme in strategic collaboration with cities across the United States to help support vulnerable families.
The initiative was launched in partnership with the City of Chicago to provide summer/fall wi-fi access locations and relief for families struggling through the pandemic. Through Ignite’s partnerships with mayors across the country, it has initiated deployments in Miami, New Orleans, and Columbia and said it is open to supporting additional cities.
According to Ignite, due to shelter-in-place orders, many under-served families in the US struggle without access to wi-fi. Its free wi-fi programme aims to bring internet access to students who are unable to access remote learning, and to families looking for both employment and local Covid-19 assistance.
“Every family should have internet access and we need to do everything possible to resolve this across the country,” said Francis Suarez, mayor, City of Miami.
“We have students who have been unable to fully participate in remote learning and parents looking for work. This programme provides a smart option as we work towards a larger plan.”
All deployments utilise outdoor, solar-powered wi-fi devices manufactured by Mesh++. In Chicago, the programme is active in the 7th, 24th, 27th and 36th wards, including several public parks.
“Every family should have internet access and we need to do everything possible to resolve this across the country”
The wi-fi devices can extend a single (or multiple) backhaul connection(s) over a large area. This solution requires zero trenching or cables, and relies entirely on solar power and cell service, at absolutely no cost to the city or its residents. This programme is in collaboration with Mesh ++ and multiple wireless service providers.
Ignite said it will announce a larger municipal broadband programme later this year based on its recent collaboration with investor and asset management firm JCL Infrastructure and Qualcomm Corp.
The group has allocated $75m to deliver immediate internet access, smart infrastructure and other related services that cities need. The programme will require no upfront costs for cities as it is based on new efficiency funding to ensure easy deployment of technology.
Ignite Cities is a consulting practice designed to develop, engage and ignite relationships with mayors, CIOs, and technology firms within cities across the US.
The objective is to architect a connected city by placing people at the centre of its purpose. Ignite has refocused the connected city space and developed a smart framework that can scale, replicate, and become profitable.
Ignite claims the result creates a visible impact that is measured by people through citizen engagement, transformed infrastructure, and improved city services.
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