In San Jose, approximately 40,000 households and 95,000 people lack access to a reliable internet connection. This digital divide presents significant hurdles for underserved communities, preventing them from using the internet for crucial activities like furthering their education, developing career skills, applying for jobs, and accessing healthcare options. San Jose is deploying pilots that can inform a citywide Wi-Fi strategy to offer low-cost or free Wi-Fi access to residents and business owners in these communities. FUSE Executive Fellow Tauqeer Bashir supported this work, helping develop a strategy for sustainable and cost-effective wireless solutions and an implementation plan.
As part of the project, Tauqeer analyzed data from the pilot programs, explored different technology options, and researched varying business models. He also assisted with researching and procuring resources to move forward with the plan. Once a plan is in place, San Jose hopes to move toward closing its digital divide and chart a course for how telecom and smart city services can be delivered in urban environments.