Toronto's public libraries have followed New York and Chicago's lead in offering wifi hotspot lending to low-income families, allowing them to "check out the internet" and take it home with them.
But the programme isn't faring so well, thanks to the libraries' telcoms partner, an unnamed wireless company.
That company is capping the hotspots' bandwidth at a paltry 10gb/month, less than 14% of the cheapest commercial home internet service offered by Bell Canada.
The Toronto Public Library hasn't named the telcom, but Rogers has confirmed that it is not the carrier in question. Canada's expensive, uncompetitive telcoms sector is often blamed for the country's shameful digital divide.
According to Tavakolian, the data cap on the library’s devices will work for the pilot project participants, which are situated in low-income areas of Toronto. The idea is that they’ll be able to send emails and look for work, but not much more. “If we start lending to everybody, then I don’t know that it would work with the current data plan,” Tavakolian said.
Given the very real struggles that low-income families face, like putting food on the table, streaming video might sound like a silly luxury to harp on. But don’t the poor deserve to browse YouTube, too? Should their online life be relegated to the most boring parts of the web?
A Canadian Telecom Is Limiting a Free WiFi Program For Low-Income Families
(Image: Faucet, Nicole-Koehler, CC-BY-SA)
Smarter people than me have pointed out that "work-life balance" says the quiet part out loud, implicitly confirming that you stop living when you're at work. Miles Matrix's Dungeons and Deadlines makes all this much realer with acerbic wit and rockin' chiptunes. My spouse left me after five turns. (via Four Short Links)
The China Law Blog (previously) is one of my favorite sources of insight into the secret workings of the businesses that produce the majority of the world's daily-use goods.
About five years ago, I was trying to get a bunch of Big Tech companies to take the right side of an urgent online civil rights fight, and I called an old friend who was very senior at one of the biggest tech companies in the world; they told me that it wasn't going to […]
Hunting around for an outlet or a power battery when you’re trying to charge your phone or tablet is always an annoyance. But when you’re out in the world hiking or camping or traveling, finding an outlet might be more than a minor inconvenience…it might be downright impossible. Running low on battery power isn’t an […]
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever” – Mahatma Gandhi Of all the skills you feel like you should probably know, yet likely don’t, coding might be one of the most intimidating. From the varied programming languages to the range of platforms to the sheer discomfort […]
Even though it feels like Amazon is a singular retail juggernaut crushing everybody else, you might be surprised to learn that half of Amazon’s $280 billion in revenue last year came from third-party sellers. According to numbers compiled by JungleScout, 86 percent of Amazon’s Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) sellers were profitable last year, more than […]