How important is your internet connection to you? How does it help you in your daily life? Have you experienced the frustration of a frozen Zoom connection? If you didn’t have to pay for the internet, how else could you use the money you saved?
We are a group of seniors and people with disabilities organizing with Senior and Disability Action (SDA) and allies to win Free WiFi for all! We are asking these questions because we believe that, in this day and age, a high quality, affordable internet connection is a fundamental need and a human right. Internet has become incredibly important for us all, especially during the pandemic when many things have become inaccessible without a strong, reliable internet connection.
We believe that billion-dollar network giants such as AT&T and Comcast must do their part in making access to internet equitable to all seniors and people with disabilities. You can read our most recent letter of demands to Ken McNeely, the President of AT&T’s Western Region, here.
In summary, our demands are as follows:
- Expanding eligibility for Access by AT&T to all seniors and people with disabilities
- Maximum speeds of at least 200/200 mbps and minimum baseline speeds over 100/100 mbps for Access by AT&T customers with a parallel plan offered at $30/month for households only eligible for ACP (essentially zeroing out the cost)
- Invest in outreach and enrollment efforts to increase access to existing programs
- Invest in connecting buildings and neighborhoods to the necessary network
- Support the establishment of, and participate in, a collaborative task force with SDA and other stakeholders that would work to quantify the systemic and geographical connection discrepancy, set goals for increasing connectivity, and monitor progress toward these goals
Sign our petition here to show your support and reach out to our organizers Dasom or Peter at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved. You can also leave a message with us at 510-993-5240.
At our Spring 2021 Senior and Disability Survival School, as we launched our #FreeWifi campaign, SDA members and advocates spoke out about the urgent need for Free WiFi for seniors and people with disabilities as well as the need for computers, tablets, and training. Staying connected is essential for survival during and beyond this pandemic. Watch the video here.
On October 18th, 90 members and allies of Senior and Disability Action (SDA), both in person and online, visited AT&T’s flagship store on 1 Powell Street in San Francisco requesting to be connected to Ken McNeely, the President of AT&T Western Region on the phone. Our negotiations with the management at first seemed to be working, but ultimately, we were met by the armed police, forcing us, seniors and people with disabilities to leave the store. You can read our initial letter to Ken McNeely here.
Read about the actions:
- SF Chronicle “Senior, disabled protesters occupy S.F. AT&T store demanding Wi-Fi access” by Andres Picon. October 18, 2021.
- SF Examiner “Seniors and people with disabilities are still digitally divided” by Veronica Irwin. October 20, 2021.
Since then, we’ve been visiting different stores in San Francisco, trying to reach Ken McNeely by all means. In the month of November, we visited four different stores in the Chinatown, Mission, Sunset, and Richmond neighborhoods trying to reach Ken McNeely through store managers on site. On a phonebanking day, we mobilized dozens seniors, people with disabilities, and allies to write and call Ken McNeely and his assistant to urge him to call with us.
On December 10th, we went back to the AT&T Flagship store with a delegation to urge the management to pass on our updated letter of demands. Despite initial commotion, with the help from AT&T management, we were able to forward our message to Ken McNeely’s office that day. SDA received confirmation of reception of our updated demands letter from AT&T on December 14th.
Want to get involved with the campaign?
Leave a message with us: 415-546-1333.
Send mail to SDA: P.O. Box 423388, San Francisco CA 94142-3388