Cisco promotes digital inclusion in Dallas, Texas

By Georgia Wilson
Dallas, Texas partners with Cisco to drive digital inclusion in its communities...

The announcement made by Cisco shines a light on the city’s efforts to increase WiFi access in limited connectivity communities.

“With COVID-19 closing down libraries and schools, it is important now more than ever to ease the challenges of limited internet services in low-connectivity areas," said Director of Libraries Jo Giudice. 

In partnership with Cisco, the City of Dallas’ Office of Resilience and Department of Information & Technology Services, has increased the accessibility of free public WiFi, located outside four public libraries in Prairie Creek, Lancaster-Kiest, Highland Hills and Dallas West.

The technology allows users to connect to free and secure WiFI between 7AM and 9PM daily. 

“Even though their doors have been closed for months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, our libraries have continued to provide important resources to the people of Dallas,” said Mayor Eric Johnson. 

“This wonderful pilot program to increase WiFi accessibility outside four libraries is a boon to our residents during a difficult time and represents a positive step toward closing the digital divide in underserved Dallas neighborhoods.”

As well as providing access to free public WiFi, the donations made by Cisco includes video endpoints inside the four libraries, which provide access to virtual services without the need to log onto a computer.

Following the safe reopen of libraries in the future, the units will provide direct access for community engagement with Dallas City Council meetings.

“As leaders, it is incumbent upon us to step up and help create inclusive futures for our communities that are now at greater risk of being left behind by the digital divide,” said Nick Michaelides, Senior Vice President, US Public Sector at Cisco. 

Technology donations made by Cisco have been provided via the company’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) Program, which currently has active national and regional digitisation initiatives in 36 countries.

As part of the Dallas initiative, Presidio - a local IT integrator - is donating time and expertise to manage the successful deployment of the technology.

Preventing the spread of COVID-19

In the announcement made by Cisco, the company highlighted the established guidelines for users of the public WiFi, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Such guidelines include: 

  • Maintaining at least six feet physical distance from others 
  • If possible - people should stay in vehicles while using the WiFi
  • Public library buildings remain closed
  • In person staff are unavailable for in-person assistance

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