Free laptops, internet available to income-eligible Stockton residents

Stockton residents in need of laptops are in luck: the city is giving away free electronics with internet access as part of the Digital Equity Project.

Kris Farro, director of community services at the city of Stockton, said some residents are eligible to receive a free laptop or tablet with three years of free internet at upcoming events. The city purchased 1,550 Chromebooks with hotspots and 500 data-enabled tablets, all equipped with three years of prepaid internet access.

“During the pandemic, it became glaringly obvious that people didn’t have the technology to deal with things that came up,” Farro said. “Kids shifted to online school; people were asked to work from home. It became really apparent that a lot of our households didn’t have what they needed to be successful during that time.”

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Farro said surveys found 35.7% of Stockton households didn’t have reliable broadband service, and 8% of households didn’t have a computer at all.

“The highest at-risk students were suffering because they couldn’t even connect and get their schoolwork done. Some people couldn’t keep up with their jobs because they couldn’t work from home,” he said.

In response, the city allocated $2.9 million from its $78 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds for connectivity support, funding the Digital Equity Project. Since mid-May, the city has distributed about 500 devices in targeted census tracts around the city and is now opening the program to anyone eligible within Stockton city limits.

To receive one of about 1,000 devices remaining, applicants must show proof of residency within Stockton city limits, self-prove income eligibility — the city will not be running any kind of income background check — and bring a photo ID to any of the following events :

  • Troke Library: 12 pm to 3 pm, Sept. 6 and Oct. 4
  • Fair Oaks Library: 12 pm to 3 pm, Sept. 13 and Oct. 11
  • Weston Library: 12 pm to 3 pm, Sept. 20 and Oct. 18
  • Angelou Library: 12 pm to 3 pm, Sept. 27 and Oct. 25
  • Diamond Cove: 10 am to 12 pm, Sept 15
  • Community of All Nations: 10 am to 12 pm, Sept 22
  • Liberty Square: 10 am to 12 pm, Sept 29

One-on-one training will also be available at the events for those who need help learning how to use their new devices. Visit for more information.

Record reporter Ben Irwin covers Stockton and San Joaquin County government. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @B1rwin. Support local news, subscribe to The Stockton Record at

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