Mobile Citizen Spotlight: Online in the Heart of Texas

February 27, 2019

The EBS-powered internet provided by Voqal project Mobile Citizen is an important resource for many that are struggling financially and can’t afford the basic internet access that would help them overcome the challenges they face. One such story is highlighted below in an excerpt from the latest case study on the Mobile Citizen website

Texas is a big state. It has a lot of blue sky, a lot of long roads and a lot of big storms. Some storms involve thunder and lightning or rain or hail; others involve turbulence of a more personal nature.

Mike became homeless in late 2018, and since then, he’s been living in his truck. He’s had a stroke and has problems with his short-term memory. He’s also a 100 percent disabled veteran who gets cluster headaches and receives both Social Security Disability (SSD) and Veterans Administration (VA) benefits. As military service members and their families will tell you, demonstrating eligibility for benefits is no simple matter. It involves a Texas-sized pile of paperwork, research, legal advice and advocacy and a whole lot of waiting.

When Mike first struggled to show eligibility for benefits in the 1990s, he found himself driving for hours and sleeping in his truck in the parking lot of Tarlton Law Library at the University of Texas. When the library opened in the morning, he’d go in and pore over the law books and resources there, all of which were on paper. The only way to see them was to be there in person, which wasn’t a sustainable practice for someone who lived a hundred-plus miles away.

Since then, a lot has changed. Most law libraries have digitized all their content. Veterans apply for VA and other benefits online. And social media has changed the world in many ways, including in how like-minded individuals connect. Another important change for Mike has been the purchase of a new Lenovo tablet and a Franklin mobile hotspot, which Mobile Citizen makes available through resellers to people like Mike. Powered by Educational Broadband Service (EBS) spectrum, Mobile Citizen has allowed Mike to pay a very manageable fraction of his previous internet/cable bill, and he gets mobile access to the internet that works almost anywhere he goes—all from a box the size of a deck of cards.

Learn more about Mike and how Mobile Citizen has helped him deal with the challenges he faces as a homeless veteran in Texas at mobilecitizen.org.

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