Smart Waterloo Region (SWR) and four charitable foundations worked together to provide internet for 1,500 students in the Waterloo Region over the summer.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, good internet access has become a requirement for many jobs and schools, which poses a significant problem for those who cannot afford this added expense.
Thankfully, Smart Waterloo region, along with The Cowan Foundation, The Fairmount Foundation, Astley Family Foundation, and Lyle S. Hallman Foundation was able to help.
Together, these groups and organizations covered the costs of high-speed modems, hotspots, monthly internet fees, and other essential internet services for 1,500 households, identified as needing financial aid to support their children’s education. The initiative to provide internet access to low-income households was intended to help with the transition to online school.
The project was launched in mid-May and paid for internet services until the end of summer.
“One of the most positive things to come out of this pandemic is seeing how our community comes together in times of need,” Karen Redman, the Regional Chair ,said. “Keeping our children engaged and learning is crucial – and the region is pleased that our Smart Waterloo Region network could help ensure every child has the access ,they need- to make that happen.”
The idea of financially supporting students’ internet costs was conceived in 2018/2019 ,as part of a pitch for the Government of Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge. Though it did not win, the project to increase home-access to the internet for child and youth education, has proved to be invaluable in the wake of COVID-19.
Smart Waterloo Region has demonstrated this year that education is essential and ,must therefore, always be prioritized.
This project has helped more than 1,500 students, supporting students to transition into online learning.