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One of the oldest housing complexes in the County will now have access to affordable internet service
CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH – Cuyahoga County, in partnership with the State of Ohio and local non-profit PCs for People, announced the second phase of a high-speed, low-cost internet service initiative, targeting the region’s least connected communities. Today, PCs for People held a signup event and scheduled internet installations for residents in the Outhwaite Homes Community, one of the largest and oldest Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority complexes.
“The digital divide reflects many other disparities traditionally faced by minority and low-income residents and we’ve got to work locally and nationally to expand digital access,” said Ohio Congresswoman Shontel M. Brown. “I was proud to vote for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to create the Affordable Connectivity Program and help close the digital divide in Cuyahoga County and across the country.”
This success was made possible by a combined $20 million investment from Cuyahoga County and the State of Ohio. Residents in parts of Cleveland, Brooklyn, East Cleveland, and Parma are now able to sign up for internet service, provided by PCs for People, for just $15 a month. Households that qualify for the federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) can have the cost of service fully covered through ACP’s $30 a month subsidy.
“Thanks to the dedicated work of our coalition of public and nonprofit partners, we are making extraordinary progress in connecting all of our residents with high-quality, affordable internet services,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Chris Ronayne. “Ensuring connectivity for every Cuyahoga County resident helps us to combat inequity in other areas including education, healthcare, and economic empowerment."
“At the Ohio Department of Development, we’re big believers in the power of collaboration,” said Lydia Mihalik, Director of Development. “Partnering with difference-making organizations like PCs for People to provide affordable high-speed internet to so many Cuyahoga County households helps us take another step in closing the digital divide in Ohio.”
The coverage area was chosen based on census tract-level data, including a combination of unconnected rate and median household income. The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority properties that previously had no internet connection received priority.
“The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority is committed to providing digital inclusion opportunities and ensuring our residents can benefit from the newest and fastest internet and technology,” said Jeffery K. Patterson, Chief Executive Officer of the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority. “Being digitally connected has dramatically changed over the past couple of years and having the access and tools to bridge the gap can be life-enhancing not only for CMHA residents, but for the greater community overall.”
“Today’s internet sign-up event is local government following through on a promise—to provide low-cost, high-speed internet to our residents who need it most,” said County Council President Pernel Jones, Jr. “We are opening the doors for residents to access educational opportunities, employment, and healthcare, while at the same time enhancing civic engagement and personal well-being. I am proud to support this critical work as we connect District 8 Outhwaite residents to this fundamental resource.”
The PCs for People network will be available in 19 cities across Cuyahoga County by the end of 2024, serving up to 25,000 households.
"We are thrilled to engage with so many invested partnerships to bridge the digital divide," said Bevin Bowersmith, Executive Director of Internet Services with PCs for People. "We thank Cuyahoga County, the State of Ohio, local civic leaders, and Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority for their innovative collaboration to bring internet solutions to the residents of Outhwaite today. We are looking forward to expanding and continuing to connect our community."
At the completion of the initiative, 25,000 households spanning throughout Cuyahoga County will have access to affordable, high-speed internet. Currently, less than 10% of households in the county remain unconnected, a sharp decrease from over 26% reported unconnected in 2015.