San Jose has expanded its free community Wi-Fi program to include about 160,000 residents, according to a news release from Mayor Sam Liccardo.

The expansion is part of the city’s “SJ Access Free Wi-Fi” program, which was launched in August 2020 and seeks to provide the widest possible free community coverage.

The network is now available in neighborhoods near Independence High School and Andrew P. Hill High School.

“Connectivity is vital to modern life, and it is our responsibility here in the innovation capitol of the world to offer our low-income students and residents free, reliable internet,” Liccardo said in a statement. “Every resident deserves the opportunity to access critical educational, economic, social, and health services that are imperative in this 21st-century economy.”

The new neighborhoods join those near James Lick High School, Overfelt High School, and Yerba Buena High School to make up the five SJ Access networks currently available.

YouTube video
(Video courtesy of San Jose Public Library/YouTube)

Jill Bourne, the San Jose City Librarian, said in a statement that the program had transformed the city’s digital landscape through the Wi-Fi access and device lending through the library.

“Residents can now visit the San Jose Public Library to borrow high-speed Wi-Fi hotspots, laptops, Chromebooks, and iPads,” Bourne said.

The Oak Grove High School neighborhood is scheduled to join the network by the end of the year. Early next year should see Mt. Pleasant High School and Silver Creek High School come online.

According to the mayor’s office, the city has invested $13,776,830 of federal and city funds on the program, which will host two networks: one for students and one for the general public.

In 2021 and 2022, more than 300,000 unique devices accessed the network, according to the mayor’s statement.