CARES Act funding to cover $6 million investment to provide free internet access for start of virtual school year
Texas Border Business
Beginning today, City of McAllen crews from the Information Technology department will begin installing WiFi equipment in 16 McAllen neighborhoods which will provide free internet access as the start of this year’s school session will be virtual for most students. The funding for the equipment is provided by the Development Corporation of McAllen and will be eligible for CARES grant funding from Hidalgo County.
“As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our schools and the way our children will be educated, we as a city commission realized that a virtual learning environment would hurt the most vulnerable in our community without access to affordable or reliable internet,” said McAllen Mayor Jim Darling. “That is why we decided we needed to invest in the infrastructure to be able to bring fast and free WiFi throughout McAllen so that none of our children will fall behind.”
According to McAllen city officials, the equipment will provide high-speed internet access; however, also note that WiFi signal may not enter into the homes but will be available outside of the homes.
Equipment will be mounted on existing light poles in neighborhoods that will create a broad range coverage so that students can access the internet throughout the school day.
Residents in these areas are asked to not park in the street in front of light poles as crews are installing equipment. Crews will begin installing equipment in subdivisions along 29th Street and U.S. Business 83.