San Antonio City Council voted April 6 to approve a new broadband connectivity initiative with AT&T to expand digital connectivity to underserved areas.

According to city officials, the initiative will link more than 20,000 residents and businesses to broadband internet.

City leaders said it is important to do what it takes to close the local digital gap and equitably connect more residents to affordable, reliable internet access and digital devices.

“This contract marks significant progress in our effort to bridge the digital divide,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said in a statement. “To have true equity in our city, all residents need access to the internet, and this project will improve lives in underserved areas, enabling a stronger, more resilient community.”

As part of the project, AT&T will provide access to fiber internet to households, allowing San Antonio residents to connect and utilize online information and services with ease, city officials said.

“This is an exciting moment for San Antonio. Access to broadband internet is essential for our residents to thrive in today's increasingly digital world. This digital inclusion initiative, in partnership with AT&T, is a much-needed effort to ensure that every member of our community has the access they need to succeed in work and life,” City Manager Erik Walsh said in a statement.

According to city officials, the contract approved by the council reflects a collaboration among the city; Bexar County; and key local stakeholders, such as SA Digital Connects, the San Antonio Public Library and the Digital Inclusion Alliance of San Antonio.

The partnership with AT&T is part of a larger, two-year effort to improve digital connectivity in underserved areas across town, city officials said, including a survey that local stakeholders are doing to determine how the COVID-19 pandemic the local digital divide. City officials said the deadline is April 30 to complete the survey.