Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority To Bring Free High-Speed Broadband To More Than 4,500 Residents Of Affordable Housing Units In A New Collaboration With Charter Communications

COLUMBUS, Ohio, April 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- More than 4,500 residents at 18 properties owned by the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) will soon receive free access to high-speed broadband service through a new collaboration with Charter Communications, Inc. and its Spectrum Community Solutions organization.

Leaders for CMHA and Spectrum hailed the agreement as an innovative solution to help an estimated 1,800 low-wage-earning households in the Columbus area bridge central Ohio’s “digital divide,” which is the gap between those who have ready access to computers and the internet and those who do not. More than half of CMHA's 4,000-plus apartments are set aside for families earning 30% or less of the area median income, approximately $26,500 annually for a family of four.

“Our new agreement with Spectrum reflects CMHA’s commitment to providing our residents with the dignity of access to internet service that is affordable and available for all uses, including school, work, telehealth and social media,” said CMHA President and CEO Charles Hillman.

“This collaboration is made possible due to the financial contribution of CMHA and the decision of our board of commissioners to deliver a service to the residents of our affordable units that today is as essential as water, sewer, gas and electricity,” Hillman said.

Spectrum will provide each CMHA affordable residential unit with Spectrum Internet, including starting speeds of 200 Mbps with Spectrum in-home WiFi and no data caps or modem fees. The service will also include Spectrum WiFi access in common areas, as well as connectivity supporting additional security measures at these properties.

Beginning later this month, Spectrum will work with CMHA management to schedule rapid installation, deploying teams of technicians to activate service quickly in each unit.

“This collaboration helps close the digital divide by providing high-quality, high-speed broadband for families who need reliable connectivity,” said Adam Ray, Executive Vice President of Spectrum Community Solutions. “Our team is committed to working with Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority to ensure our dedicated service organization delivers the very best onboarding experience to residents.”

A 2020 report commissioned by The Columbus Foundation and conducted by the Columbus branch office of AECOM, an international civil infrastructure research and planning company, reported that even in the lowest income areas of Columbus, there is at least one high-speed internet provider and adequate broadband infrastructure for service.

However, the study found that gaps in access were largely due to a variety of barriers, including economic challenges, technology literacy and lack of computers or other devices.

The CMHA collaboration with Spectrum aligns with the report’s conclusion that “long-term, public-private collaborations and new technologies will be necessary components to ensure high-speed internet access to all community members.”

Spectrum Community Solutions offers industry-leading wired and wireless broadband and video services — including gigabit connections — to residents of apartments, off-campus student housing, senior residences, RV parks and marinas throughout Spectrum’s 41-state service area.

While the digital divide existed before the spread of coronavirus, Columbus officials said that the pandemic has exposed the issue of lack of access to high-speed internet even more. CMHA’s collaboration with Spectrum will enable hard-working, low-income households to overcome that burden, especially students, according to Franklin County Board of Commissioners President Kevin Boyce.

“I applaud the leadership that CMHA and Spectrum are demonstrating in Franklin County by expanding access to high-speed internet to underserved communities,” Boyce said.

“I believe public policy and the actions that we take can be the catalyst to changing long-term situations such as the digital divide that negatively impacts the ability of students to learn and succeed in the classroom and in their community,” Boyce added. “The new CMHA-Spectrum collaboration definitely moves the needle on improving the quality of life for CMHA residents.”

The Federal Communications Commission’s Tenth Measuring Broadband America Fixed Broadband Report highlighted how Spectrum is outperforming benchmarks and delivering superior services to our customers. Spectrum Internet exceeded 100% of advertised speeds during peak times on all speeds measured — three downstream speeds and two upstream speeds. 

About CMHA

CMHA helps people access affordable housing through collaborative partnerships, promote neighborhood revitalization and assist residents in accessing needed social services. CMHA has more than doubled its portfolio of housing over that last five years, including over $200 million in investment in 2020. We own over 4,000 units of mixed income and affordable housing and through our Housing Choice Voucher and Project Based Rental Assistance Programs provide rental assistance to more than 250,000 Ohio and Washington DC residents. CMHA has been a Section Eight Management Assessment Program (SEMAP) High Performer for the last ten years. More than half of CMHA's 4,000+ apartments are set aside for families earning 30% or less of the area median income, approximately $26,500 annually for a family of four.

About Spectrum

Spectrum is a suite of advanced communications services offered by Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHTR), a leading broadband connectivity company and cable operator serving more than
31 million customers in 41 states. Over an advanced communications network, the company offers a full range of state-of-the-art residential and business services including Spectrum Internet®, TV, Mobile and Voice.

For small and medium-sized companies, Spectrum Business® delivers the same suite of broadband products and services coupled with special features and applications to enhance productivity, while for larger businesses and government entities, Spectrum Enterprise provides highly customized, fiber-based solutions. Spectrum Reach® delivers tailored advertising and production for the modern media landscape. The company also distributes award-winning news coverage, sports and high-quality original programming to its customers through Spectrum Networks and Spectrum Originals. More information about Charter can be found at corporate.charter.com


Mike Nowlin
Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA)
989-450-0855
nowlin@gudmarketing.com

Mike Pedelty
Spectrum
816-985-8552
Michael.Pedelty@Charter.com
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