In Texas, experts say more than 9 million people don’t have a broadband internet connection. Sometimes it’s because they do not have the infrastructure or they can’t afford it. During the pandemic, many people lost their jobs and children needed to stay home and do school online. Many people had to cancel their service because they could no longer afford to pay for internet service. Children depend on their parents’ hotspot for internet connection but sometimes the speed isn’t good enough. Many families found themselves at local restaurants like Mcdonalds buying fries so the kids could do their homework. One family shared with me that when their phone didn’t connect and they didn’t have money to buy food, they parked in the parking lot of a phone store where there is free wifi so the children could finish assignments. Can you imagine not having internet service available to you? Do you think everyone should have internet service available to them? Let’s talk about it…

Lonnie Bradley: “Our schools offered free wifi, and our public library has as long as I have lived here.”

Stefani Shamloo: “A lot of the times, at schools, it didn’t work well enough or they ran out. True about libraries but they were closed during Covid.”

Mary Svetlik Watkins: “There’s a neighborhood here that is impossible. The school district paid for a driveway big enough for the buses to turn around for pickup and drop off. Once you get off the road, it’s more like a rutted path. There is no internet there. It’s not part of the town and is privately owned so the county has no jurisdiction either. During our last bond planning cycle, the district wanted to put repeaters in. $20k would have brought the internet to 35 kids. The landowner wouldn’t allow it. During the lockdown, I worried about those kids.”

LeAnn M Dinsdale: “I have said that this entire year. Just like we all have electricity. We all get the same level of power. The Internet should be the same for everyone-not a luxury where the rich get high speed. In my opinion, it is another way to maintain oppression. Many classes have virtual books. The school did not buy hard copies. My assessments have been online for 10 years. We’re at school to use school computers. In the past year, students have been home. The internet was not prepared to handle every student being online. Bandwidth struggled. This is a great opportunity to change education and make it equitable for all.”

Andy Squire: “ Read up on rights vs privileges. Also, look into taking a simple course on economics. Who provides the internet service? Who pays for said service? Requiring payment for a good or service isn’t oppression. Expecting others to pay is immoral.”

Clint Westwood: “Yes I think everyone should have at least the basic Internet especially now that schools are requiring students to use it.”

Manny Santana Montilla: “If public schools require it they should keep it on at the school parking areas for parent supervised parking for use of those students less affluent. This is just one idea to make it accessible to students.”

Thomas Mc: “Absolutely! It’s no longer just a luxury to have like in the late 90s and early 00. It’s as essential as electricity or water at this point. The city should offer a free service or subsidized service for people with low income. It doesn’t have to be the fastest out there but at least enough for streaming and uploads/downloads.”

Teresa Strayer Savidge: “I really don’t think they care much about poor, rural areas.”

Lisa Andrews Frericks: “It absolutely astounds me that this is even a discussion in 2021.”

Donna Thompson: ”Kind of like television, which used to be free and now has many subscription services. And the digital media with its pay walls. Being well informed is only going to be for people with discretionary income who choose to spend their money that way. Not enough voters will.”

Ignacio Oliva: “Nah. Broadband isn’t life or death. The school can come up with alternatives. I don’t think hotspots are the only alternatives for schools. Even basic restaurants have curbside pickup, why not a workbook pickup??”