OAKWiFi provides free internet to Oaklanders to help close the digital divide. 94,000 residents in Oakland currently do not have access to the internet. OAKWiFi is an initiative that provides free internet access for students, seniors, job seekers, small businesses, the underserved, and unconnected. This project was funded through Federal CARES Act grant funds in the amount of $2.27 million.
OAKWiFi already has live hotspots throughout the City; this initiative will greatly expand the coverage to parts of West Oakland, Downtown Oakland, and East Oakland along the International Blvd corridor to the San Leandro border. The first zones (1, 2, & 18), located in West Oakland, Downtown, and Uptown, using existing fiber, began coming online in mid-November 2020. The remaining zones (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, & 13) are now online. The majority of households that have benefited from these first three zones include low-income, elderly, people of color, single parents and the disabled.
The OAKWiFi program has been successful in reaching those vulnerable communities in Oakland that historically have been underserved and lacking resources to easily access the internet. OAKWiFi is a project that is life changing for many Oakland residents and is expected to grow into more neighborhoods as the program expands. From launch through February 1, 2021 more than 39,845 unique users have connected to OakWiFi.
Clear Channel, PG&E, AC Transit, and Edelman Creative Group