, 2022-11-29 12:20:48,
When Shreveport, Louisiana, hired Keith Hanson as its chief technology officer and smart cities director in 2019, the city’s mayor asked him to address the digital divide and create a smarter city. Both efforts would require expanding broadband internet, making it one of Hanson’s earliest priorities.
Once he took the helm of Shreveport’s IT department, Hanson said he tried to understand the city’s digital infrastructure and internet access. He was initially stumped by the city’s digital divide: There was broadband infrastructure near almost every home, but many people seemingly lacked internet access.
To understand the scope of the problem and create a map of internet coverage, Hanson’s team installed Raspberry Pi computers on the city’s garbage trucks and used location data to identify WiFi networks in the city. They soon made a startling discovery: About 40% of Shreveport had no WiFi coverage, and nearly all the dead spots were in historically underserved communities, Hanson said.
“This [was] a massive divide,” Hanson said.
Hanson began meeting with telecommunications companies in 2020 to figure out how to extend internet service…
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