Wi-Fi Buses to close digital divide

RT buses to become free super hotspots during 60-day proof of concept 
May 4, 2020
We've partnered with SacRT, California State Transportation Agency and the City of Sacramento to provide free community hotspots with Wi-Fi Buses in areas with limited high-speed internet access during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To promote opportunities for distance learning, telework and telehealth, the first three Wi-Fi Buses are going live today Monday, May 4. Seven additional buses will be deployed to more “digital desert” communities across Sacramento beginning the week of Monday, May 11. Buses will provide 3½ hours of wireless broadband service at two locations each day, with updated schedules available at thewifibus.com

Offering high-speed connectivity with a range of up to 1,800 feet, the 10 repurposed Wi-Fi Buses are outfitted with combinations of equipment provided free of charge by proof of concept partners AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, Cradlepoint, Sierra Wireless and Aruba and a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.

Hotspot locations and protocols will be determined in collaboration between us, the City of Sacramento, Valley Vision, SacRT, the California State Transportation Agency and public health officials. High-need locations will be selected with input from local school districts, community organizations and digital divide research, as well as the ability for users to maintain physical distancing and follow public health guidelines. We will provide bus parking at its branches and robust online resources for students to access when connected to the Wi-Fi Bus network. 

“We’re excited to launch this innovative Wi-Fi Bus project to help close the digital divide and provide vital high-speed internet services to our communities,” said California State Transportation Agency Secretary David S. Kim in a press release. “Using transit buses to deliver broadband connectivity is creativity at its very best, and I want to thank Mayor Steinberg and the City of Sacramento, Henry Li and SacRT, the Sacramento Public Library, and our private sector partners for making this project a reality.” 

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said the buses are an important innovation to enable more children to participate in distance learning while out of the classroom.

“These mobile Wi-Fi Bus hotspots will help remedy the lack of internet access that threatens to leave thousands of our students farther behind," he said. "I thank all of the partners who worked to make this happen, and I hope to see it replicated on a larger scale around California.” 

SacRT General Manager/CEO Henry Li said he is proud to be able to use our buses to help kids across the Sacramento region get the internet connection they need to continue their education through distance learning.

“I’m pleased that SacRT is still able to contribute to closing the achievement gap whether it’s through free WiFi Buses or fare-free transit,” he said.   

More news articles about SacRT Wi-Fi Buses:

Sacramento Deploying Wi-Fi Hotspot Buses To Provide Access In 'Digital Deserts' During Stay-At-Home (capradio)

To help students keep up during coronavirus shutdown, Sacramento launching Wi-Fi buses (Sac Bee)

SacRT Partners With City, State Officials To Launch WiFi Buses To Close Digital Divide Amid Coronavirus (13cbs Sac)