The problem of economic inequity in San Antonio has recently become a focus of concern by planners, and one way that inequity is apparent is in the fact that fully one quarter of all San Antonio residents don't have access to the Internet, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
"If I was standing up here and telling you that 25% of San Antonians don't have access to water, or health care, or books, or a sewer system, or energy, I think all of our, our hair would be on fire," northwest side Councilman Manny Pelaez said.
The City's Office of Innovation is working with the public library and other groups to conduct a survey and assessment of the seriousness of this problem. The study will determine the breadth of the problem, and come up with solutions.
“Broadband internet is no longer a luxury. It’s a necessary utility. Access to broadband is essential for economic development, education, and workforce attainment and growth, said Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “The City of San Antonio is dedicated to continuing to find collaborative strategies that will increase access to our communities.”
The survey will be distributed across a variety of channels, including community centers, library branches, and Bibliotech locations.
“This survey will help us better understand what challenges our residents face to getting access to the internet so that we can work with our partners to develop a plan that will lead to a more connected San Antonio,” said City Manager Erik Walsh.
County Judge Nelson Wolff says nothing will retard a city's economic growth quicker than a significant percentage of the population without Internet access or knowledge.
"It is almost impossible for a student today to go home and not have access to the Internet, and not be able to do his studies that he needs to do," Wolff said.
City officials say it is against the goal of creating a tech center to have such a huge percentage of the population, including young people who the City expects to become the next generation of tech employees, not to have basic Internet access.