Starry Group, JCHA Partner for Affordable Internet Access
Internet service provider Starry Group Holdings Inc. announced a partnership with the Jersey City Housing Authority to provide access to its Starry Connect program to residents of the Hudson Gardens and Thomas J. Stewart communities in Jersey City.
Residents of affordable housing communities will have access to the Boston-based company’s high-speed broadband service, with plans starting at $15 per month and including features such as no long-term contracts and free installation.
According to the May 24 announcement, Starry launched service at Hudson Gardens, a 224-unit family community, in April, and service at Thomas J. Stewart, a 48-unit seniors community, will launch this month. this. Residents can also opt into the federal government’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides a subsidy of up to $30 per month for broadband access to eligible households.
“At Starry, we believe that connectivity is a social good and therefore should be both affordable and ubiquitous,” Virginia Lam Abrams, executive vice president of government affairs and strategic advancement at Starry, said in a statement. . “Unfortunately, the high cost of broadband creates an insurmountable barrier for many of our families living in public and affordable housing to get the home connectivity they need for school, work and staying in touch with loved ones. Starry is proud to partner with JCHA to provide access to low-cost, no-cost broadband service options to residents of Hudson Gardens and Thomas J. Stewart Apartments.
At the height of the pandemic and shutdowns, when businesses and schools shifted to remote work and classes, the disparity between high-income and low-income homes came to the fore. According to a report by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, citing a Pew Research Center survey, nearly one-third of low-income households in the United States lacked broadband internet service, and nearly two-thirds of low-income parents said their children would face “digital barriers” with schoolwork during the pandemic.
JCHA Executive Director Vivian Brady-Phillips said the authority began focusing on digital equity in 2018 by joining ConnectHomeUSA, “a nationwide initiative led by EveryoneOn, which seeks to bridge the digital divide for residents of HUD-assisted housing”.
“Research at the time showed that less than 30% of public housing residents had internet access, and even those who were online generally lacked laptops or computers,” Brady-Phillips continued. “The pandemic has widened the impact of this digital divide, while drawing attention to the barriers that leave low-income households disconnected. We are thrilled to partner with Starry to bridge this gap by building essential broadband infrastructure and providing high-speed, low-cost access to our residents.
The Jersey City Housing Authority is the second largest public housing authority in the state, with over 15,000 residents.
“In Jersey City, we are implementing innovative solutions to help bridge the digital divide and ensure that all of our residents, regardless of income, have equitable opportunities, especially when it comes to their education and employment,” said said Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop. “Over the past year, we’ve successfully wired three JCHA public housing estates with high-speed, low-cost internet services, and this latest partnership with Starry will include two additional sites to help hundreds of residents.”