WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–May 16, 2022–
Mayor Muriel Bowser today announced a new open-access infrastructure initiative, naming award-winning broadband provider WeLink as the first provider selected to bring affordable high-speed Internet access to neighborhoods in need in the nation’s capital. With federal funding through the government’s new Affordable Connectivity Program, verified households can receive multi-gigabit Internet access and home Wi-Fi from WeLink at no cost.
The collaboration builds on Mayor Bowser’s commitment to give every DC resident a fair chance and provides households in Washington, DC with multi-gigabit Internet access at little or no cost to them.
“The partnership between WeLink and Washington, DC, marks an important step in our efforts to bridge the digital divide and bring affordable high-speed Internet access to every home,” said Kevin Ross, Founder and CEO of WeLink. “Our next-generation technology brings multi-gigabit Internet access to thousands of DC residents. Access to public infrastructure will only accelerate our ability to deploy quickly and cost-effectively to those who need it most.
WeLink wireless technology is faster to deploy and much more cost effective than traditional buried fiber. Open access public infrastructure can accelerate broadband deployment, especially in densely populated urban communities. WeLink will start rolling out the wireless network within the next 30 days. Residents of Washington, DC can sign up to be on a waitlist by visiting welink.com/washington-dc.
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical need for reliable and affordable internet access to support virtual learning and facilitate remote working. The digital divide exacerbates many existing challenges for low-income communities and communities of color. In major US cities, millions of homes go without broadband and millions more pay prices they cannot afford for merely adequate service.
Building on the partnership model with Washington, DC, WeLink is announcing the Cities Challenge to invest up to $100 million in private capital to deploy the company’s turnkey solution in low-income communities in across the country. The company is focused on bringing ultra-fast Internet access to historically neglected communities to prepare them for the future today. The WeLink Cities Challenge enables cities to work with WeLink to deliver much-needed digital infrastructure in neighborhoods identified by government partners. Local government officials can learn more about the Cities Challenge and submit their applications at: cities.welink.com.
“As cities across the country strive to prepare for the future, WeLink is uniquely suited to bring affordable superfast internet access to historically underresourced communities like Ward 5 in Washington,” said John Paul Farmer, president of WeLink Cities and former chief technology officer of New York. City. “Thanks to WeLink’s breakthrough technology and the active participation of local governments, communities no longer have to wait years or decades for affordable multi-gigabit internet. Families no longer have to go without broadband because they cannot afford it. Cities and leaders who understand the magnitude of the challenge understand that this is a time when everyone is on board and there is not a moment to lose. Innovative cross-sectoral initiatives like the Cities Challenge will finally allow us to fight together against the digital divide.
Through the Cities Challenge, WeLink aims to partner with large and medium-sized cities to accelerate efforts to achieve sustainable digital equity. Working with government partners, WeLink plans to provide simplified access to public assets for broadband equipment and, potentially, limited capital assistance for one-time investments such as free-access cabling inside buildings. WeLink’s multi-gigabit service will be free for households verified through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and at simple, affordable prices for everyone else.
How the Cities Challenge works
As of May 16, 2022, elected municipal officials will be able to submit an expression of interest form on the WeLink site. The official application period will be open from June 1-24, with households in select communities getting multi-gigabit connectivity starting in fall 2022.
The opportunity for communities
- Quick Start. WeLink will bring broadband service to partner cities in weeks, not years. With WeLink’s total investment, the company will connect hundreds of thousands of homes.
- Blazing fast speeds. WeLink’s service provides fiber-quality multi-gigabit symmetric access (equal upload and download speeds), without gimmicks or compromises, meaning it can be a critical driver of sustainable digital equity.
- Affordable service. WeLink’s service is free for households eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). For everyone else, WeLink offers super-fast speeds and simple pricing for far less than other service providers.
- Local jobs. The implementation of the WeLink network will create local jobs. WeLink will hire and train technicians and digital navigators who live in and near target neighborhoods in partner cities.
- Way to the ladder. Ideal government partners share WeLink’s interest in ensuring that every home has reliable and affordable ultra-high-speed Internet access while unlocking the maximum medium and long-term benefits, including matching funds of the law on investment and employment in infrastructures.
WeLink is a next-generation wireless broadband technology and Internet service provider bringing super-fast, ultra-affordable home Internet access to communities that have been neglected for far too long. The company’s breakthrough wireless fiber technology is faster to deploy and more cost-effective than traditional fiber, making it an ideal solution for many communities, especially densely populated urban areas.
Founded in 2018 by wireless industry veterans, WeLink is led by Kevin Ross, the former co-founder of Vivint Wireless. WeLink Cities is a new branch that focuses on unlocking social impact and leverages new federal broadband programs and local partnerships to bridge the digital divide in underserved urban communities. WeLink Cities is led by John Paul Farmer, the former chief technology officer of New York City and senior technology adviser to the Obama White House. WeLink is backed by Digital Alpha and has a strategic partnership with Cisco Systems.
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PUBLISHED: 05/16/2022 11:36 a.m. / DISK: 05/16/2022 11:36 a.m.