NEW ORLEANS - District “D” Councilmember Jared C. Brossett has been pushing for public WiFi access throughout his term, and today he was able to secure funding to make an initial investment of $1.5 million to that end. Councilmember Brossett was joined by Councilmembers Banks, Palmer, Nguyen, and Glapion in support of the measure during today's regular Council meeting.
The money will go to the Council Utilities Regulatory Office (CURO) to begin the process of securing dedicated access to public WiFi. In a study, CURO found that over one-third of New Orleanians lack access to a fixed internet connection. The implementation of citywide public WiFi aims to change that.
“This is about eliminating the digital divide,” said Councilmember Brossett. “The pandemic made it more clear than ever that access to WiFi is critical to the education of our children, our work, and the ability to remain connected regardless of the circumstances. Areas like Hollygrove, Gentilly, Algiers, Lower 9, Central City, and New Orleans East have the lowest access to the internet in their homes. It’s 2021. That has to change. Public WiFi will take us one step closer to being a more equitable city. The digital divide we are seeing is unacceptable, and I am proud to have taken the lead on this issue.”
Councilmember Brossett also introduced an amendment to send $5 million out of an approximately $1.5 billion budget as an initial investment in the relocation of the residents of Gordon Plaza, but while supported by Councilmembers Nguyen and Palmer, the full Council failed to pass it. Councilmembers Moreno, Glapion, Giarrusso, and Banks voted against the measure. For years, Gordon Plaza residents have advocated for funding to relocate from the subdivision built on a toxic landfill.
He continued, “For decades, Administrations and Councils of the past have ignored the cries of the residents of Gordon Plaza. The City built their homes on a toxic landfill, so it is up to the City to make this right. It has been far too long, and it is incredibly disappointing not to have my colleagues' support. This work is not over, and I am going to continue to fight for the residents of Gordon Plaza. I am committed to continuing to work with my constituents to ensure the dollars necessary to fully finance the relocation of Gordon Plaza plaza are allocated to the new fund. This has been a long time coming, and I will continue to take the lead on this for the Council until it is finished.”