February 7, 2023
In the midst of enthusiastic senior citizens and other eager on-lookers, North Miami Mayor Alix Desulme announced on February 6, 2023, the launch of a free tablet and internet service program for 20K households in the City of North Miami. As the first municipality in the state of Florida to provide such a program, the City of North Miami is helping to connect thousands of residents through a program of Mayor Desulme’s new NoMi City Smart Initiative in partnership with Moolah Wireless, a provider of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).
“As North Miami celebrates 97 years as a city, North Miami is committed to doing its part to close the digital divide throughout the city, not just among students but among seniors and other qualifying households as well,” North Miami Mayor and former FCC Intergovernmental Advisory Committee Member Desulme explained.
During the announcement, Desulme mentioned that his years of working in the technology field as a legislator has revealed the stark reality of a digital divide getting wider. In response, he brought the free tablet program to eligible North Miami residents. The former Vice Chairperson of the National League of Cities (NLC) Information Technology and Communications Committee also referenced his work with the NLC to draft related policies to address broadband affordability. He even revealed during the announcement that the city will release a NoMi Konnect app under the NoMi City Smart Initiative. The app will allow residents to connect with city hall in various languages and communicate across city departments.
Yet, Desulme’s efforts will eventually expand beyond North Miami. His mentor work with the 5000 Role Models of Excellence, one of the organizations present during the mayor’s announcement, will help the youth group also establish a similar tech program to afford qualifying mentees with similar access to free tablet and internet service.
Sam Banks, Sales and Strategy Director for Moolah Wireless, shared that residents and other qualifying applicants can get a free tablet every year for the next 10 years and applauded residents in attendance for taking the time to learn about the program.
“They will get the benefits and they will get to know what is going on,” Banks explained during his remarks. “They will get to know about healthcare options. They will get to learn about education solutions. They will get to help their children better. This is what we are excited about.”
The free tablet program allows eligible residents access to affordable communication technologies that provide full opportunities to engage in digital information resources for education, job opportunities, civic engagement, health care, financial services, entertainment, and social connections as well as connections to North Miami services.
Eligible North Miami residents include anyone receiving food stamps, Medicare/ Medicaid, a Pell Grant for college, free lunch in K-12 schools, Social Security, Section 8, Veteran pension, or any family under the national poverty guidelines (maximum household income of $9,440 times the number of people in the household). To determine eligibility and to register for a free tablet, residents can visit www.NorthMiamiFL.gov/Tablet.
Other representatives in attendance included Alonzo and Tracey Mourning Senior High School; North Miami Senior High School; Miami-Dade County Public Schools Board Member Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall, and the King Carter Youth Foundation.
In addition to free tablets through Mayor Desulme’s NoMi City Smart Initiative, the City of North Miami provides its residents with free mobile hotspot devices through North Miami Public Library. With just a current library card, patrons, 18 years and older, can check out a free hotspot device. For more information about the library’s free hotspot program, visit www.NorthMiamiFL.gov/hotspot.
“Making technological advances in North Miami is bringing a dream to reality,” North Miami Councilman Pierre Frantz Charles said to the sea of spectators. “This program will help our seniors. This is a chance for them to busy themselves further, but now busy themselves by using their own tablet to access the internet.”
For more information or to schedule an interview with North Miami Mayor Desulme about the NoMi City Smart Initiative, contact Communications@NorthMiamiFL.gov.
Traci Y. Pollock, Communications Manager
305-893-6511, Ext. 12151
About the City of North Miami
North Miami is a suburban city located in northeast Miami-Dade County, Florida. It is roughly 10 miles (16 km) north of Miami. The city lies on Biscayne Bay which surrounds the Biscayne Bay Campus of Florida International University. North Miami is home to a diverse demographic of residents. With more than 64,000 residents, North Miami is the sixth largest city in Miami-Dade County. We are home to the Oleta River State Park; the largest urban park in the Florida State Park System and the nationally accredited Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA North Miami).