PRESS RELEASE

Coalition Says State-Level Data Critical To Connecting Millions of Low-Income Apartment Units That Lack Home Broadband

NTIA Urged To Ensure States Can Accurately Identify Unserved Households in MDUs When Deploying Infrastructure Bill Funds

Share This Post

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:

African American Mayors Association

All4Ed

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

CoSN – Consortium for School Networking

Council for Affordable and Rural Housing

Chiefs for Change

Common Sense

First Focus on Children

HPN – Housing Partnership Network

Institute for Real Estate Management

MMTC – Multicultural Media Telecom and Internet Council

National Affordable Housing Management Association

National Apartment Association

National Association of Home Builders

National Association of Housing Cooperatives

National Digital Inclusion Alliance

National League of Cities

National Leased Housing Association

NAFSCE – National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement

NMHC – National Multifamily Housing Council

NSBA – National School Boards Association

New America – Open Technology Institute

Next Century Cities

#OaklandUndivided

Public Knowledge

Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future

US Ignite

View a copy of the letter sent to Secretary Raimondo here.

ENDS

For all media inquiries, please email press@educationsuperhighway.org

More To Explore

View of Downtown Worcester Massachusetts skyline with mountains in the background
Latest News

EducationSuperHighway & Massachusetts connect residents to affordable broadband

Broadband activities are revving up in the Bay State. The timing is not a coincidence: with President Biden signing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law in November 2021, and NTIA subsequently releasing Notices of Funding Opportunity which outline the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, Digital Equity Act, and Enabling Middle Mile Grant Infrastructure program in May 2022, states and localities find themselves in a new era of funding opportunities to finally close the digital divide. To connect the unconnected to affordable broadband, EducationSuperHighway has teamed up with organizations across Massachusetts to take advantage of this opportunity in three separate areas, described below.

Media Inquiries

Using laptop at home