Beginning Wednesday, the IT department from the city of McAllen will install Wi-Fi equipment in 16 city neighborhoods, according to a news release. With the Development Corporation of McAllen providing the funding for the equipment, city officials say it will be eligible for CARES grant funding from Hidalgo County.
City officials say because McAllen students’ school session will be virtual for the majority, the installation will provide free internet access.
“As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our schools and the way our children will be educated, we as a city commission realized that a virtual learning environment would hurt the most vulnerable in our community without access to affordable or reliable internet,” McAllen Mayor Jim Darling said in the release. “That is why we decided we needed to invest in the infrastructure to be able to bring fast and free WiFi throughout McAllen so that none of our children will fall behind.”
Although the equipment will provide high-speed internet access, McAllen city officials note the Wi-Fi signal may not enter homes, but will be available outside.
In order to create a broad range coverage for internet access throughout a school day, city officials say the Wi-Fi equipment will be mounted on existing light poles in neighborhoods.
The city of McAllen is asking residents in the areas where crews will install equipment, to not park in the streets in front of light poles. The installation of the Wi-Fi equipment will begin in the subdivisions along 29th Street and U.S. Business 83, the news release stated.