WSJ: For the Internet-Deprived, McDonald’s Serves as Study Hall

Pete CodellaBroadband

Amber and Corey Dixon at the Pinconning, Mich., McDonald’s. Credit: Anton Troianovski/The Wall Street Journal

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal took an interesting look at how people are flocking to free Wi-Fi hot spots such as those located at McDonald’s or Starbucks, to complete their schoolwork.  The article reports that according to the Pew Research Center, “roughly a third of households with income of less than $30,000 a year and teens living at home still don’t have broadband access there”.  That figure is in stark contrast to the 96% of households with teens that have income of at least $75,000.  “[E]ducators say they are aware that lack of Internet access at home can put students at a disadvantage. But they also fear leaving kids unprepared for the real world if they don’t emphasize online learning in the curriculum.” 

See video from WSJ Live: Homework with a Side of Fries

We understand this is also a problem for Utah households.  The Utah Broadband Project is planning to collect data on free Wi-Fi locations and public computing center availability statewide, and will create a publicly available resource for families to get more information on where and when they can use these important resources.  Please stay tuned to our blog for updates on this and other projects to improve Internet access in Utah.