Published On: Tue, Oct 27th, 2020

FPL and Palm Beach County Partner to Deploy Broadband to Address the Digital Divide

By: Robert S Weinroth

PBC Mayor & Commissioners joined by Don Kislewski (FPL Sr Director of External Affairs) and Pamela Rauch (FPL VP External Appears) and County Administrator Verdenia C Baker

A big thank you to our corporate partner, FPL, for supporting the county’s broadband initiative (made more urgent by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education and commerce).

At today’s meeting, the Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved a donation agreement with Florida Power and Light Company, providing 1,000 utility poles for usage within the School Board COVID Broadband Project.

Palm Beach County has an Interlocal Agreement with the School District for antenna placement on School Board communications towers to support virtual (distance) learning.

This “Digital Divide Donation” will be used to provide Internet access to “gaps” in Palm Beach County where Wi-Fi is not currently available.

FPL has graciously donated 1,000 wooden poles to facilitate the School Board’s objectives related to students’ off-campus learning (during the pandemic and beyond). Speaking on behalf of the County, Commissioner Weinroth noted, “It is gratifying to see the county, school board and business community to collaborate in a way that will benefit our residents during the pandemic and into the future as we enhance the broadband network throughout Palm Beach County.”

The “digital divide” is the disparity created between those who have access to computers and the Internet, and those who lack access.

This disparity has been made more glaring as the pandemic has forced many within our community to rely on broadband access to continue working, virtually, and students (at all educational levels) who lack the ability to continue their studies.

A lack of access during the COVID-19 outbreak has posed a significant threat to the health of our most vulnerable residents. Residents within our most disconnected neighborhoods must overcome severe handicaps to maintain connectivity to learn and live within our community.

About the Author

- Robert Weinroth is a 27 year resident of Boca Raton where he is an attorney, businessman, former member of the City Council (where he served for four years) and currently serves as an elected member of the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners. Commissioner Weinroth went to Boston’s Northeastern University where he earned a BSBA in Management. He went on to earn his Juris Doctor at New England School of Law. He is admitted to practice law in Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey and the Supreme Court of the United States. Weinroth served as president and general counsel of Freedom Medical Services Inc, an accredited medical supply company in Boca Raton. FREEDOMED® represented the realization of an entrepreneurial dream. Weinroth, and his wife Pamela operated the company for 16 years, eventually selling the business in 2016. Weinroth takes great pride in his past work as a volunteer Guardian ad Litem for the 15th Judicial Circuit, advocating for the needs of abused and neglected children deemed dependent by the Court. After serving on multiple community boards and committees, Weinroth was elected to the Boca Raton City Council in 2014. During his tenure, he served as CRA Vice-chair and Deputy Mayor and was appointed to a number of county boards including the Boca Raton Airport Authority, the Palm Tran Service Board, the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency, the Treasure Coast Planning Council and was elected a board member of the Palm Beach County League of Cities. Commissioner Weinroth serves as County Vice-Mayor and has been appointed Chair of the Solid Waste Authority, a board member of the PBC Transportation Planning Agency, and alternate representative on the Treasure Coast Planning Agency and several other county and regional boards. Robert, Pamela and their two dogs, Sierra and Siggy, are proud to call Boca Raton home.

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