The City of San Antonio recently passed a nearly $191 million “COVID-19 Community Recovery and Resiliency Plan,” to support the city’s future as it emerges from the pandemic. What’s unique about this plan is that digital inclusion is front and center in the city’s recovery efforts and is one of the four pillars outlined in the plan.
Access to the internet and internet-enabled devices has been a long-time challenge in San Antonio, creating significant inequities. Thirty-one percent of San Antonians lack internet access, mostly in low-income areas. The plan calls for sharing existing fiber infrastructure and providing at-home equipment and devices to households that need it. Digital inclusion funding will also work to close the homework gap by providing broadband access to low-income households by way of private wireless networks.
Funding for the plan will come from $96.3 million worth of federal money the city received from the CARES Act and $94.6 million from the city’s general fund, and will be distributed as follows:
- $75 million for workforce development
- $50.5 million for housing security
- $38.1 million for small business support
- $27.3 million for digital inclusion
San Antonio’s leadership provides a roadmap for other cities across the country to include digital inclusion as a main component of economic recovery and growth post-pandemic.