Guggenheim wants to see free wireless-ready netbooks or laptops in the hands of disadvantaged people. “I mean having a wireless laptop means you can go to the library, starbucks, Love Park, you can go to wifi areas and take care of daily life,” Guggenheim said. “Imagine not having cell phone email texting at all week after week. And on top of that I tell you have to look for a job, find housing, straighten out a problem with your bank account and communicate with people at benefits offices all without a computer… that’s the depth of the problem.”
Not having a computer and internet access really contributes in a big way to the social class you are in. The internet though provides a platform where everyone is an equal.
“If you give a homeless guy a wireless netbook and he is communicating with everyone, CEO’s, news agencies, benefits agencies, or even a 1000 friends on Facebook but he’s doing that from Love Park, a wireless hotspot. He has created an online screenname and everyone knows him as that. They don’t know that he is homeless. They don’t know that he has not resources. They don’t know that he’s jobless. They don’t know anything other than he has this screename and he has all these online contacts. And we don’t think anything of it, but that makes him our equal having a computer and having the training to use it. Without that netbooks he’s just a bum on the street.”Guggenheim hopes to use her training programs to help close the digital divide. She wants to find people within the disadvantaged population who would be good a tech support and train them. “That way they can support themselves. The going rate is 60-85 hour for freelance tech support and that is a far cry from minimum wage,” said Guggenheim. “People need to understand that it is not just about providing just any job, you have to provide a job that can support a family.”