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Will Google Fiber Bridge San Antonio's Digital Divide?

Photo: Courtesy of the Open Technology Institute, License: N/A

Courtesy of the Open Technology Institute

The map reveals disparities in internet access along socio-economic and geographical lines

“In order for San Antonio to truly be a ‘city on the rise,’ we have to make sure those most marginalized rise up also,” she adds.

“This is one of the things that got us excited about San Antonio,” says Google’s Wandres. “It’s a group effort to bridge the digital divide.”

Taking into account Nirenberg’s plan, coupled with Google’s avowed commitment to digital inclusion, stakeholders are cautiously optimistic that, if selected as a fiber city, San Antonio could be on the road to digital equity.

The bottom line is that while Google Fiber and other private ISPs can help bridge the divide, they can’t solve the deeply entrenched, systemic problem alone—it’ll take the vigilance of grassroots advocates and nonprofits, thoughtful city planning and forward-thinking elected officials working collectively to ensure the disconnected develop digital literacy skills and get online.

Amid a complex problem with a complex solution, at least one thing is clear: Echoing others, Ozuna urges these groups to come together before Google lays its first fiber in SA, if it even does at all: “Right now, we still have a chance to be proactive.”

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