September 15, 2018 - Access to a computer and high-speed internet are more important than ever to the success of the Bay Area’s students, job seekers and families. 53% of adults with incomes less than $30,000 have broadband at home, compared to 93% of those with incomes above $75,000 (Pew Research Center). In the Bay Area alone, 47% of low-income families don’t have access to a computer at home.
To address this crucial need, the Berkeley Library, City of Berkeley, Tech Exchange and Comcast Internet Essentials partnered in hosting a Berkeley Tech Fair on September 15th, 2018.
The Berkeley Tech Fair successfully attracted an attendance of approximately 300. Among these, 125 attendees walked away with a high-quality refurbished computer, representing just a portion of Bay Area residents who are “digitally dark.”
“This event is great! A computer at home is going to make the life for me and my kids much easier, and now they can do their homework at home.” - Gale, Berkeley Resident
Providing computer access, broadband access and technical assistance are three critical inputs to closing the divide in our community. The purpose of the Berkeley Tech Fair was to provide a space which empowered students and families to improve their academic, work and personal lives by ensuring they have access to the necessary technology hardware, internet and supportive resources.
The Berkeley Tech Fair offered a fun and welcoming space where residents were informed about low-cost internet options, had the opportunity to engage with local community partners, and walk-away with a free desktop computer.
Local Community Partners. Partners including Tech Exchange, Berkeley Public Library, Healthy Black Families, City of Berkeley Black Infant Health, Black Girls Code and Berkeley City College took part in the Tech Fair providing community resources, and learning tools to use at home.
Low-Cost Internet. Attendees were provided with resources to learn about and sign up for $10/month internet options available through Comcast Internet Essential or AT&T Access Programs.
Free Refurbished Desktop Computer. As a pledge to ending the “digital divide”, Tech Exchange supplied 125 attending families with a free high-quality refurbished desktop computer and 70 extended pick-up vouchers. Tech Exchange believes there are enough technology resources in the Bay Area that every low-income family can be connected to a home computer and internet.
“We want to ensure that all members of our community have resources, tools, and skills they need to be productive online.” - Seth Hubbert, Tech Exchange’s Executive Director
Access to the Internet and digital tools are crucial to gain skills, look for jobs, apply for those positions, and access healthcare. But that access is not equitably spread. The Berkeley Public Library and partners take pride in closing the digital divide. Technology continues to be more important to our society as we increase our reliance upon computers, mobile devices, the Internet, and other technologies to aid our everyday lives!
“The Berkeley Tech Fair was definitely a success, we would love to participate as a vendor for the future events to come.” - City of Berkeley Black Infant Health
Help Us Eliminate the Digital Divide
Volunteers are essential in our mission to get the Bay Area connected. You can get involved. Stay informed and be added to our volunteer contact list by joining here!
We welcome all residents to join us in preparing computer equipment for distribution to schools, community centers and homes throughout the city.