Unlike in rural areas, where high-speed internet service is scarce, the city of Columbus is saturated with broadband internet providers who give residents multiple options to hook up to fast service.
But many city residents still don’t have high-speed service. That’s likely because the high price is keeping many low-income households from affording it, a report commissioned by the Columbus Foundation found.
Now, using $500,000 in federal COVID-19 relief dollars, the city of Columbus and the Columbus Partnership, an organization representing the leaders of the city’s largest corporations and organizations, are seeking to create a wireless broadband link to two test neighborhoods, on the South Side and the Near East Side.
Tapping into city-owned fiber optic lines that are used to connect police substations, fire stations, traffic lights, data centers and other city operations, the new high-speed links will attempt to substantially undercut the roughly $50 to $60 a month cost of basic high-speed internet service from private providers. The pilot program will include about 200 qualifying households with public school students.