Sending an email, applying for a job, and completing a school assignment will be a lot easier for residents in underserved communities in Indio thanks to a state grant to expand high-speed internet access.
“The Internet is everything now,” said Ian Cozens, Director of Information Technology. “For the underserved communities, not having proper internet access stops them from so many things.”
The California Public Utilities Commission will fully fund the Broadband And Last Mile Design And Engineering Project.
The $256,746 grant will serve thousands of people in downtown Indio and the Jewel neighborhood where almost a quarter of residents lack internet access.
“Doing a book report or a report of school, for a child that doesn’t have high-speed Internet, it’s so much more difficult,” said Cozens. “For businesses, having access to high-speed internet is vital. All business is done through the Internet nowadays.”
The expansion of internet access is part of a larger Fiber Master Plan” approved by the Indio City Council on Aug. 17.
According to the city’s website, the Fiber Master Plan will guide the development of reliable, and cost-effective next-generation broadband to expand innovation, educational opportunities, and workforce development training.
“I think this is a great step toward bridging the digital divide here in Indio,” said Cozens.
The Broadband And Last Mile Design and Engineering Project is expected to be complete by December 2024.