BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Baltimore City officials held an event Thursday at Gilmor Homes to register residents of Housing Authority of Baltimore City units for free high-speed Internet access and to distribute computers and devices to access it.
The internet service is part of a federal program, Emergency Broadband Benefit, created to help low-income Americans stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic. HABC residents can choose their provider.
The PCs for People group also gave away hundreds of refurbished computers for free, many of which were old local government agency machines that were later refurbished.
“The lack of access to technology for remote work, virtual learning and telehealth continues to undermine the potential of our communities,” Mayor Brandon Scott said in a statement. “The pandemic may have deepened the digital divide. It is imperative that we remain focused on the laser to ensure that all residents of the city are connected to the internet and have access to a device. The HABC Resident Connect event is an example of the importance of public-private partnerships in Baltimore. It will take all of us to work to bridge the digital divide and provide these crucial technological resources to the Baltimoreans. “
In 2020, Scott signed a memorandum of understanding with PCs for People to donate retired municipal computers to the organization rather than sending them to landfill.
Founded in 2008 in St. Paul, Minnesota, PCs for People estimates that it has distributed restored computers to 300,000 people and helped 120,000 homes connect to the Internet at low cost.