Why is this so important?
Low-income families in our area are struggling. Their priorities are food and rent, and they require the internet services they need to be free or very low cost.
When the current health crisis hit our county it was obvious that the need for high-quality broadband had never been higher, our education system was an immediate area of major concern, and that low-income families would be the hardest hit.
Working with the County Office of Education (COE) and the Pajaro Valley School District (PVUSD) Cruzio quickly developed a plan to expand coverage and provide free and subsidized high-speed internet to dozens of low-income families and students. The program provides families with free internet service including state-of-the-art home wifi for three months and then a heavily-discounted rate thereafter.
Faced with an urgent situation, Cruzio has relied on our own resources and our excellent connections within our industry to connect dozens of these families. But we are only able to fill a small fraction of the need and also sustain our business.
While we didn’t at first consider outside donations as a possibility, once it was suggested we realized that not just Cruzio management and staff, but also other Santa Cruz County residents and especially the local technology community recognize the importance of educational opportunity — and equity — for low-income families in our county. This knowledge has inspired us to expand the Equal Access Santa Cruz program and seek out new projects and opportunities that serve these goals.
“Our focus is to support all students and families with the resources and tools needed to be successful —especially our most underserved students. We focus on equity and are doing everything we can to remove the digital divide from Santa Cruz County. We are thankful for the work Cruzio is doing and has done to make this a reality. With Santa Cruz COE’s and Cruzio’s shared vision towards this work we can truly make a difference for all of Santa Cruz county!”
— Jason Borgen, Chief Technology Officer, Santa Cruz County Office of Education