The city of Toronto has partnered with tech and telecommunications companies to provide free temporary internet access to vulnerable residents amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city has received donations from several companies that will help connect 25 large residential apartment buildings in low-income neighbourhoods.
Montreal-based national carrier Bell is providing free Wi-Fi access in up to 10 of the low-income buildings for six months, and is waiving all installation and project management fees. The carrier is also working with the city and social agencies to provide phones and tablets to those in need.
Cisco Canada is supplying hundreds of permanent mobile access point hardware and contributing to fees for some internet circuits. OnX Canada is providing service management and maintenance, while BAI Canada is contributing fibre and hosting of core infrastructure.
The city’s technology services division has deployed free 24/7 Wi-Fi access throughout all 10 city-operated long-term care homes.
“During this difficult time, it’s imperative that our most vulnerable residents have access to the supports they need and are still able to feel a sense of connection while physically distancing in order to protect themselves,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory in a press release.
Further, Toronto-based national carrier Rogers is donating free Wi-Fi for three months to four permanent shelter locations, which is enabled by fixed wireless access devices to ensure the coverage is available throughout the shelters.
Vancouver-based national carrier Telus has partnered with the city, Toronto Police Service and United Way Greater Toronto to help vulnerable residents stay connected to crisis services. Eligible residents are receiving a cell phone, data plan or sim card for free.
Source: City of Toronto