COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Residents and students of the Colony Apartment community on West Beltline Boulevard will now have free access to Wi-Fi services after radio personality and South Carolina native, Charlamagne Tha God made a generous donation.
The City of Columbia, in partnership with IGNITE CITIES, is launching the expansion of Wi-Fi to this community beginning Friday, Sept. 25 at 9:30 a.m. With more people working from home or participating in virtual learning for school due the coronavirus pandemic, many families have had to rely on Wi-Fi.
The goal of this free Wi-Fi program is to provide students who are unable to log on remotely and families searching for both employment and coronavirus assistance with the resources that they need. The installation of the Wi-Fi devices requires zero trenching or cables, and relies entirely on solar power and cell service, at absolutely no cost to the city or its residents.
The first installation will support the residents of the Colony and North Pointe Apartments.
Sam Johnson, responsible for orchestrating this initiative, said, “It is unconscionable to think that our students can receive a quality education without access to the internet.”
Johnson says that he’s thankful that he was able to take on this role and wants to continue to help communities address changes and creatively find solutions to problems, like these, that may arise.
The coronavirus pandemic has exposed and amplified many systematic disparities and disadvantages within communities, some of those disparities being access to education and Wi-Fi.
“No child should be denied the framework of education simply due to a lack of WI-FI access. When Charlamagne Tha God asked me what he could do to help struggling families in Columbia, I knew his generosity could greatly augment IGNITE’s tech initiative and provide the free access they need to help bring their children to the digital classrooms other students have easy access to,” Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said.
Charlamagne Tha God, a native of Moncks Corner, has donated to different causes within his home state on several different occasions. This particular donation stemmed from his realization of how having Wi-Fi access is a luxury that many take for granted.
“I saw a video of kids literally at a Taco Bell using the Wi Fi just to do schoolwork and that broke my heart,” Charlamagne Tha God said.
He continued, “Around this time every year I do a book bag drive but clearly this year that’s not what these students needed. I reached out to Mayor Benjamin just to ask him what can we do for kids who are experiencing these types of challenges, and he told me exactly what was needed, so now it’s done. I’m going to always be there for my people. When I say South Carolina, we all we got: I truly mean that.”