As part of its new initiative, the City of San José announced the launch of the People’s Network in order to bridge the digital divide and bring Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to its citizens. Helium’s blockchain-based incentive model will increase internet access for more than 1,300 low-income families in San José, the first city to join the rapidly expanding ecosystem.
Internet Access Is Not Equal.
In 2019, The People’s Network was launched with the vision of democratizing and decentralizing connectivity so that everyone and everything can access the Internet equally. Through Helium’s blockchain-based economic model, the Network today is making this vision a reality by enabling equitable participation in the world of wireless that has traditionally been centralized and controlled by a few providers.
The Global Pandemic has only magnified the digital divide during this time of global pandemic, making this vision both timely and more relevant for the 95,000 or so citizens in San José who lack internet access. According to a 2021 study from Pew Research, the digital divide is directly tied to income and results in obstacles such as the “homework gap” for school-age children. As much of daily life has been moved online, actions to combat digital inequities are incredibly impactful.
Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the City of San José has always been a pioneer in using innovation and emerging technologies to solve big problems, and access equity is no exception. When the City of San José and Helium team first met years ago, it was clear the mission of the City and the vision of The People’s Network were perfectly aligned to address these challenges head-on.