While the societal move from in-person to virtual has been smooth for some Oxford residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, for others, finding consistent access to reliable, high-speed internet has been a daily struggle.
In order to alleviate that concern for some Oxford families, the Oxford Housing Authority is now offering free high-speed internet to all of its residents as of the end of September.
“During such uncertain times, we are proud to have the opportunity to offer this service,” said Jonathan Hill, executive director for the OHA. “As we continue to deal with issues involving COVID-19, we are aware that internet service plays an important role in keeping us all connected to work, school and family.”
According to Hill, these services are vital for increasing what he calls “digital inclusion”. While it may seem like a fairly new concept to some, in the current climate where everything from the ability to attend a class or earn a paycheck may come down to having access to the internet, it is a very real issue. The internet is no longer the luxury it once was, but rather a necessary utility.
“Since the shift to virtual learning last spring, there has been a real focus on WI-FI access,” Hill said. “This service is especially important because many students are now learning remotely. We know that students without internet access are unable to successfully participate in remote learning. Our goal is to offer resources that help bridge the gap, and by offering this technology to our residents we’re supporting digital inclusion.”
In order to provide this service, the OHA teamed up with Timothy Jones, Justin Hicks, and David Koon from MaxxSouth Broadband, in addition to John Melton from Big Brother Technologies.
Hill also said that Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill had offered her “unwavering support” for the project.