Those living on low incomes in urban Ottawa are more likely to struggle to afford the high costs of home internet and cellphone data plans and less likely to receive the digital skills support they need.
This is how the digital divide gets wider.
To help bridge this gap, NCF is piloting a Community WiFi Network to deliver free, secure, fast and high-quality WiFi in indoor and outdoor community spaces across Vanier, Overbrook and parts of Sandy Hill and Lowertown.
NCF's award-winning HelpDesk of staff and volunteers will offer one-on-one support and workshops for those using the network.
Check out a brief overview of the Community WiFi project.
The pilot is supported by a $250,000 two-year investment from CIRA (the Canadian Internet Registration Authority), as part of its Net Good program. CIRA will also deploy its DNS Firewall and Internet Performance Test services as well as support network security.
As a community partner, Ottawa Community Housing will provide access to their facilities at 251 and 255 Donald Street, where the Community WiFi Network will provide free WiFi in the common areas of the building. Launching in Fall 2024, the network will then expand to connect at least 10 other community organizations.
Hiboo Networks, Ottawa-Gatineau’s first municipally owned fibre optic-based telecom provider, is also a project partner, providing 18 months of free 1Gbps fibre backhaul connectivity.
If you're part of a community organization that is interested in helping support or host the Community WiFi network, we want to hear from you: email@example.com
If you're interested in volunteering with NCF, we want to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you'd like to donate to NCF's Community Access Fund in support of our lower-cost home internet program for Ottawa Community Housing tenants: donate here.