Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that the city is beginning a Community Internet Program (CIP) that would give internet service providers (ISP) free access to city-owned rooftops in exchange for providing high-speed internet at low or no-cost as part of the Affordable Connectivity Program.
Additionally, Mayor Bowser announced the creation of a new State Broadband and Digital Equity Office in the Office of Chief Technology Officer Lindsey Parker. The office’s first task will be ensuring that ISPs follow through on their commitments.
“Access to high-speed internet is critical. As we stay focused on building a more connected D.C., increasing access to affordable, high-quality internet is a big part of that work,” Mayor Bowser said in the announcement. “Whenever we can use District-owned buildings to better support the community, that is a win for everyone. We’re happy that President Biden is making this issue a priority, and we plan to make D.C. a national example of what is possible.”
The antennas will then serve as hubs for the neighborhoods to feed internet to houses. The city has already announced a partnership with broadcast provider WeLink.
As the first partner in the program, WeLink said they will begin by installing neighborhood hubs in Wards 5,7, and 8. The ISP said they will begin with D.C.’s Trinidad neighborhood within the next month.
“Access to our roofs is a valuable financial opportunity for ISPs and we are excited many appear to be ready to provide the speeds necessary to keep you and your family well connected, access the online training to find your fair shot, and communicate with your loved ones when you want,” Parker said.
“We are asking these providers to commit to the equity and accessibility values our Tech Together DC partners envisioned as well as put forth maximum outreach efforts by helping knock on doors and close our internet connectivity gaps once and for all,” Parker continued.