Urban areas today have nearly universal, albeit pricey, broadband internet access from cable companies and other service providers, with the number of providers varying from neighborhood to neighborhood. Fewer options are available to those who have less capacity to pay for service. Many low-income households simply cannot pay for decent internet access.
In two affordable housing complexes in San Francisco near the heart of the tech industry, Hunters Point East and West (HPEW) and Robert B. Pitts Apartments, few residents could afford high-quality internet service until Monkeybrains, an internet service provider (ISP) that has operated in San Francisco for 20 years, partnered with the city to provide 100 Mbps connectivity in HPEW and 1 Gbps connectivity in Robert B. Pitts.
Despite nationwide efforts to close the digital divide, at least one-fifth of Americans who do not use the internet cite the prohibitive costs associated with access. The program to connect HPEW and Robert B. Pitts to high-speed internet shows how innovative thinking, organization and commitment from various stakeholders can make high-quality internet access a reality for low-income households. As San Francisco continues on its path to shrink the digital divide, other municipalities could use this model and follow suit.
Visit Broadband Communities to read the complete article and learn more about SFHDC’s work with MonkeyBrains to bring broadband to Public Housing.