Soon, NYPL Will Allow Poor to “Check Out” Internet

June 24, 2014 | Bucky Turco

Good news for the city’s online-loving, low income residents: the New York Public Library has your back. As part of a new initiative made possible by a $500,000 grant from the Knight Foundation, portable wifi “hot spots” will be lent out for up to a year to “underserved” patrons reports amNY. The nonprofit is hoping the devices will “bridge the digital divide” between the (high speed) haves and have nots, noting that “27 percent of households don’t have access to broadband,” and the lower the income dips, the lower the connectivity:

By running surveys of current users to assess their home broadband status, NYPL has learned that its patrons have a great need for this project; fifty-five percent of those accessing the Library’s free Internet and computers do not have Internet service at home. That number grows to sixty-eight percent for those with annual incomes of less than $25,000.

Students enrolled in the NYPL’s learning programs will get laced with the 4G wifi units first. They will then evaluate those results and decide which 10,000 households are brought into the warm embrace of the Internet come September. (Photo: @Bastien Abadie)