LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Free unlimited internet access is now available outside four Los Angeles YMCA branches through a program funded by the Southern California Gas Co.
The program plans to expand to 20 YMCA branches by November.
YMCA officials said the free wifi is intended to help bridge the lack of wireless connectivity in high-need communities as Los Angeles County students continue to attend school online.
"We greatly appreciate the generosity of SoCalGas," said Mario Valenzuela, YMCA-LA's vice president of equity and inclusion. "Their donation allows us to give in-need communities equal access to the internet and in turn equal opportunities as everyone else to learn and thrive."
Wifi access is also critical for families who rely on the internet for telehealth services, job opportunities and career counseling.
The utility company donated $60,000 to the program, which kicked off Monday at the following four locations:
- Weingart East Los Angeles Family YMCA;
- Weingart YMCA Wellness & Aquatic Center;
- Wilmington Family YMCA; and
- Montebello-Commerce Family YMCA.
Another 16 branches will follow in the next few weeks, with all locations operational by November.
"SoCalGas and the YMCA share the common goal of improving the quality of life in the communities in which we serve. We are proud to partner with the Y to help close the digital divide and provide free public wifi to all," said Cedric Williams, vice president of customer services for SoCalGas and a YMCA board member.
"This initiative will open the doors of opportunity to many Angelenos, in particular students, jobseekers and those in need of telehealth resources."
Internet access is unlimited and available during branch hours. More information can be found here.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)
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