What you need to know
- Google is donating equipment to help students bridge the digital divide.
- As more students work from home, the company is donating 4,000 Chromebooks to ease the transition.
- As a third of rural Americans don't have access to fast broadband Google is bringing free Wi-Fi to 100,000 rural households.
As many students are urged to work from home, Google is working on providing equipment to 100, 000 households, ensuring they can work through this difficult time.
CEO Sundar Pichai made the announcement on Twitter in April, saying:
Proud to work with @GavinNewsom & partners to help bridge the digital divide in our home state. We're providing 4,000 Chromebooks to California students in greatest need & free wifi to 100,000 rural households during the #COVID19 crisis to make distance learning more accessible.
A study from PEW in 2019 found that a third of rural Americans didn't have a broadband connection despite a steady increase in growth from 2007. They would also have less access to multiple devices and go online less, limiting familiarity with online tools and providing less opportunity for students to work from discrete devices in a home with more than one student. The donation of Chromebooks will help a little in alleviating the latter problem while the benefits of free Wi-Fi are rather obvious.
This isn't Google's only move in coronavirus community support. The company committed $800 million towards helping small and mid-sized businesses with their coronavirus relief.
"In addition to these commitments, we also increased the gift match Google offers every employee annually to $10,000 from $7,500. That means our employees can now give $20,000 to organizations in their communities, in addition to the $50 million Google.org has already donated," Sundar Pichai said last week, "Together, we'll continue to help our communities—including our businesses, educators, researchers, and nonprofits—to navigate the challenges ahead."