San José to mine cryptocurrency to help pay for internet access for low-income residents


SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) – San Jose is looking to build on its efforts to bridge the city’s digital divide through a one-of-a-kind program that aims to minimize financial barriers to connect low-income residents to the ‘Internet access.

On Thursday, the City of San Jose announced a pilot program in partnership with Helium and the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) that will involve the mining of Helium Tokens (HNTs) to help pay for high-speed Internet access for residents at low income.

“The partnership here is the first of its kind where a city has partnered with Helium to take advantage of an emerging technology such as cryptocurrency while simultaneously deploying an IoT network for our smart cities initiatives,” said Jordan Sun, Director of Innovation. for the office of Mayor Sam Liccardo.

Helium access point device.

How it works

The Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation (MOTI) will install 20 helium-enabled access points for volunteer residents and small businesses in San José for six months and once the device is installed it will begin. to mine the Helium cryptocurrency tokens (HNT); using as little as the energy of an LED bulb to operate.

The mined HNT tokens will then be converted into prepaid payment cards and given to low-income households to subsidize their internet spending.

The pilot program will fund low-cost Internet packages for 1,300 low-income households for one year by providing participants with a one-time payment of $ 120.

“We thought about it, we said, well, why don’t we find a way to deploy these miners, but rather than allow individuals to benefit from them, we’re trying to say, look, let’s allow our members. most marginalized community that need Internet access to be able to benefit from these revenues, ”Sun said.

“The way we’ve embraced this business model is that rather than making it accessible only to a few knowledgeable people,” Sun added.

“Most people don’t pay attention to this space, especially our ordinary residents. “

The city says that in addition to helping low-income residents access the internet, the IoT infrastructure powered by Helium devices will improve the delivery of city-wide services such as quality monitoring. air, fire detection, water leaks and climate related opportunities.

Residents of San José who need help accessing the Internet at home, click or tap here.

For residents who wish to register to host a Helium hotspot, click or tap here.


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