SAN FRANCISCO, CA – March 17, 2022 – Today, a coalition of organizations focused on broadband policy, housing, and addressing challenges facing under-resourced communities in our nation’s cities and throughout the country called for urgent action to ensure unserved households in multifamily residential housing (MDUs) are correctly identified when broadband funding is allocated.
In a letter to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, the group, led by the national non-profit EducationSuperHighway, urged the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to use its authority to encourage states to supplement new FCC Maps with data that identifies specific apartment units that lack access to reliable broadband service.
While applauding Federal Communications Commission (FCC) efforts to strengthen their maps and identify whether an apartment building has an internet connection, the coalition highlights the need to accurately count unconnected units within each building to deliver on the shared goal of closing America’s digital divide.
“States must be encouraged and allowed to collect supplemental data from ISPs to identify unserved MDU households,” said Evan Marwell, Founder and CEO of EducationSuperHighway. “Access to broadband is an integral part of participating in the 21st-century, and these unserved, unconnected communities cannot be relegated to the back of the line solely based on the physical structure within which they reside.”
The letter highlights improvements in Wi-Fi technology have made it possible to connect households living in MDUs to reliable broadband service simply by deploying Wi-FI access points in the hallways and then connecting the Wi-Fi network to a high-speed broadband connection to the building. These reliable, high-speed networks can be deployed in months, not years, and have the potential to quickly and cost-effectively connect millions of unserved and unconnected households living in low-income apartments, rentals, housing cooperatives, and public housing. These are the very same households who represent a large percentage of the most unconnected households in America: very low-income renters and communities of color.
Led by EducationSuperHighway, the coalition includes:
View a copy of the letter sent to Secretary Raimondo here.
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