Riverside issues free computers to families that qualify

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What started as free wireless Internet to most of Riverside, Calif. has expanded to a city-wide investment to give computers to individuals in need.

In 2006, the City of Riverside tested the ability to give free wireless Internet service to residents within a small testing area.

Then in 2010, the test expanded to give free wireless Internet access to 78 percent of Riverside.

With free Wi-Fi as a start, Riverside will be offering more than just access to the service, but free education programs, as well as computers for residents.

The Digital Inclusion Program is a new effort from the City of Riverside to bring itself and the residents up-to-date with all the advances in technology.

As stated in the press release from the City of Riverside, the Digital Inclusion program is meant to “strengthen Riverside’s position as an economically and technologically competitive city and provide an enhanced quality of life for all Riverside residents.”

The program is not only meant to provide Internet service but educate the youth in Riverside that have yet to enter the work force, in the area of current technology. Residents of any age group who have some knowledge will also have the opportunity to receive retraining to further their experience and upgrade employment qualifications.

The Digital Inclusion Program seeks to provide over 3,000 computers per year to homes that are in need.

Houses that make $45,000 per year and under are eligible to receive a computer, with options to assist families that do not meet the requirement.

The computers given to families will be free and come with the equipment necessary to connect to the free wireless Internet. All the computers that are to be handed out have been donated by large, local companies. They have also been refurbished and reformatted to make use as simple as possible.

The Digital Inclusion Program has been made possible through the cooperation of Dell, Microsoft, Cisco, Salvation Army, United Way, Riverside area school districts and county government.

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