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Medical center antennas amplify free community Wi-Fi

Kaiser Permanente strengthens San Mateo County free internet service with the installation of antennas on a new building. (Photo taken prior to COVID-19 mask requirements. Please follow all current safety precautions.)

Redwood City students and their families who use the free San Mateo County wireless internet got a connectivity boost recently, courtesy of transmitters installed atop Kaiser Permanente’s new Marshall Medical Offices.

The equipment on the medical office building at the corner of Marshall and Maple streets increases access to 15,000 nearby households, said Kaiser Permanente Redwood City Public Affairs Director Stacey Wagner.

“I am so grateful that each and every person involved in getting this equipment up supported the needs of our community, especially given the pandemic,” said Wagner.

The free Wi-Fi is accessible in most urban areas of the county.

For low-income students and their families living near the Marshall Medical Offices, the free internet has been especially helpful, said Ninfa Zuno, co-founder of United Through Education-Familias Unidas. Her organization helps about 3,000 mostly low-income and Spanish-speaking parents in San Mateo County become active participants in the education system.

“The schools give out iPads and Chromebooks, but many of the families couldn’t afford to get on the internet or didn’t have a good connection” said Zuno. “So, this is a great option and it’s completely free.”

Zuno said parents know the free internet is unsecured, similar to what you would find in a coffee shop or library, so it’s not recommended to use with sensitive financial or other websites, but it is wonderful for children and parents logging into Google Classroom used by the school system or to do research for homework.

San Mateo County Supervisor Warren Slocum lauded Kaiser Permanente for contributing to the free internet in the county.

“I want to thank Kaiser Permanente Redwood City for this compassion-driven project to help our students in need of wireless connections to complete schoolwork and stay grounded socially to their friends and family,” Slocum said. “Kaiser Permanente is exceptional in its community-based work.”

 

 

 

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