From the Columbus Dispatch:
When the pandemic first struck last year, it quickly became apparent to officials at the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority and its board of commissioners that something had to be done to help their residents who were struggling to adapt to a virtual existence.
The residents couldn't afford to spend hundreds of dollars a month paying for internet access, but they also couldn't easily work from home, e-learn, make telehealth appointments or talk to folks at the CMHA, which closed in-person operations.
"After COVID hit, it became very clear to me that our affordable housing portfolio didn’t have the access they needed to work with us," CHMA chief operating officer Scott Scharlach said.
So the housing authority began last year exploring how to accomplish this and partnered with Charter Communications, better known as Spectrum, to provide broadband to more than 4,500 residents at 18 CMHA properties across Columbus, free of charge.
The total cost of the project will not exceed $3.5 million over the next five years, which CMHA's board of commissioners stipulated in its negotiations with Spectrum, but the housing authority was unable to provide a monthly cost analysis due to a signed confidentiality agreement.
Installation will finally begin next week and service will available to all CMHA properties by the end of May.
"We felt very strongly that having access to high-speed internet is almost like a utility," Scharlach said. "All of our apartment communities have access — it’s hardwired for internet service, but cost is a barrier for our residents so we decided to pay for internet."
Read the Columbus Dispatch's article "Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority partners with Spectrum on broadband expansion."