Life Without Internet in Yolo County
By Don Saylor and Cecilia Aguiar-Curry | June 22, 2016
Access to high-speed Internet (broadband) is no longer a luxury. It is a basic necessity in both rural and urban settings to support our community members with their education, access to health care and economic competitiveness in today’s digital economy. While Yolo County sits just to the west of the California state Capitol, funding for broadband infrastructure has been a consistent challenge.
Knights Landing is a rural community just 10 miles north of Woodland. Youth regularly gather outside the Knights Landing Library after hours. These students aren’t congregating to cause trouble; they are accessing the library’s Wi-Fi signal — the only high-speed internet available to them for homework and other needs.
In Knights Landing, a community of 1,000 residents — where 23.5 percent live below the poverty level, 14.7 percent are unemployed and 91 percent of school children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals — there is no affordable means for residents to access broadband (high-speed internet) at home.
The lack of connectivity in Knights Landing is not an isolated situation. This story is one we hear time and time again from people in the communities throughout Yolo County and beyond. These aren’t mountaintop vacation homes lacking access to broadband; these are homes of hard-working residents who are an integral part of our community.