Free for the Rich: Long Beach City Council Looks into Providing Free Wi-Fi in Belmont Shore
Belmont Shore’s Second Street corridor is rife with tourists, shops, restaurants, and some of Long Beach’s most affluent and comfortable denizens. So it would make sense that the City Council wants to provide the area with free wifi.
The motion, put forth by outgoing 3rd District Councilmember Gary DeLong, was City Council approved at yesterday’s City Council meeting with no discussion on any level—including why the Shore is being provided the service and not marginalized sections of Long Beach such as the West or North Sides.
As of right now, the City offers free wifi at all public parks and libraries, as well as the Long Beach Airport. But the need for such access in less affluent neighborhoods is not something to be lightly passed over: the digital divide puts 60 million Americans—mostly poor, elderly, or minorities—without access to the internet, with almost half of those not connected nothing they can’t because they either don’t have a computer or find access too expensive.
The Belmont Shore Parking Commission will take on identifying the costs associated with implementing the free service while the City Manager will look at the costs of adding public wifi to all Long Beach fire stations.