SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) – San Jose officials announced a new program that will give internet to thousands of residents across the city by taking advantage of blockchain technology.
Partnered with Helium and California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF), during its pilot period, 1,300 low-income households will get prepaid gift cards, converted from cryptocurrency tokens mined through Helium hotspot devices, that will pay for internet service.
“Here in the heart of Silicon Valley, San José must set an example for how to solve problems with emerging technologies and public-private partnerships,” said San José Mayor Sam Liccardo. “Becoming a smarter city means leveraging emerging technologies that improve how we serve our community, making it safer, more sustainable, and more equitable. This first-of-its-kind partnership between the Mayor’s Office, Helium, and CETF represents one of many innovative public-private partnership models that we’re advancing to bridge the digital divide for residents.”
The city will deploy and install the hotspots at volunteer residences and small businesses across the city.
The hotspots only require the energy of an LED light bulb and transmit less than two megabytes per month in data.
All of the currency mined from the hotspots will go toward subsidy payouts to San José residents.
Residents who need assistance getting internet access at home can submit their information here.
To sign up to host a Helium hotspot, residents can visit here.
This is the latest program the city has implemented in the pandemic to bridge the digital divide and follows the $24 million San José Digital Inclusion Fund, device refurbishment partnership with Revivn, distribution of over 15,800 mobile WiFi hotspots and community WiFi infrastructure that will connect over 300,000 residents by the end of 2022.