Verizon will provide free internet access to all students who need it in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the company announced today. This could help as many as 100,000 students continue to learn while schools are closed.
Reliable internet access is critical during this pandemic, but Verizon (Engadget's parent company) is a little late to step up. Spectrum is offering free internet installation and service to students and their families. Comcast is making its Internet Essentials program free for new, qualifying customers for 60 days, and it is boosting broadband speeds for existing Internet Essentials customers. AT&T has removed data usage caps.
While Verizon's support for students in LAUSD is critical, that's only one school district. As Superintendent Austin Beutner said, "the digital divide is very real." With learning moving online, closing the digital divide across the entire country may be more important than ever.