By John Lim, CTO
So last Friday, I was up in my old stomping grounds, San Francisco Bay Area, attending the annual Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California Fall Conference. What does TekTegrity have to do with Non-Profit/Affordable Housing?
A lot, actually.
Did you know that TekTegrity’s baby company, Innovative IT, is one of the larger providers of infrastructure projects and support of Residential Internet for Affordable Housing sites? Through Grants, Sweat and Tears we are able to help many underserved households achieve their goal of connectivity.
What does Connectivity do for people?
We love the idea of helping people get connected. In turn, we help them connect to friends, family, potential jobs, creativity, new possibilities. Similar to our stance on Net Neutrality, we believe that everyone should have access to internet connectivity without compromise. I am very proud of the fact that we do this.
Internet for All
Did you all know that California has a bill dubbed ‘Internet for All’ (AB1665) that passed the Assembly and Senate and is currently sitting on the Governor’s desk right now? This is a huge deal!
AB1665 increases funding for “Unserved” areas of California to get people connected to the internet. Pretty sweet, right!?! We are talking $20Mil in funding adoption projects that help housing agencies provide equipment (ie. tablets, laptops, etc.), and $300Mill, that’s million, in infrastructure!
So I love AB1665 right? Yes AND No.
What’s Not to Love?
I love the adoption portion. I think the adoption funding is great to get computers in the hands of people that cannot afford it. Plus, the system is already in place for accountability to make sure people are trained and using it.
So what is not to love about $300 Million in infrastructure? I’m not hating on the money, I’m hating on the game.
Through AB1665 and SB745, the definition of an “Unserved Site” has changed. Changed so much so that it disqualifies basically every site. So without a qualified site, how do we get internet for all? Catch-22.
The bill does, however, help large Internet Service Providers (ISPs) build out infrastructure to serve more areas. Great, right?!? Well, not great if the outcome is more infrastructure but not enough approved sites to get internet into the homes of those that actually need the connectivity.
AB1665 and SB745 are only going to fulfill its mission to deliver Internet for All if there is accountability. I love spending money as much as the next guy, BUT, we need to make sure there is accountability in how this money is spent. Because infrastructure without access is not a solution.