Starry Inc., a wideband hybrid fiber licensed gigabit wireless internet service provider, announced an agreement with Microsoft to provide high-quality broadband in under-connected communities in Detroit.
According to data from the University of Michigan’s Urban Collaboratory, 40 percent of Detroit residents and nearly 70 percent of Detroit public school students do not have access to broadband at home, with price as a driving factor behind the numbers.Starry Connect, the company’s ultra-low-cost digital equity program is the focus of the partnership, bringing the service to households in zip codes identified as having low levels of broadband adoption among Black and African American residents. Currently, this program only focuses on public and affordable housing communities, and Detroit will pioneer the expansion to all serviceable households.
“Home broadband access is essential to daily life. And yet, millions of Americans continue to go without it due to high costs. We think that’s unacceptable,” says Virginia Lam Abrams, senior vice president of government affairs & strategic advancement for Starry.
“We created Starry Connect to get broadband access to families who have been written off or left behind by traditional incumbent providers. By working with Microsoft, we can super-charge our impact in cities like Detroit, by being laser-focused on neighborhoods that are underserved by incumbents and as a result are grossly under-connected to the digital tools they need to thrive.”
The two companies worked together last fall to provide the first accelerated availability of the program in Los Angeles. They plan to partner again later this year to bring a pilot version of the program to New York City.
Starry Connect provides up to 30 megabits per second connection speed with no data caps, long-term contracts, fees, along with equipment, installation, and customer care included for $15 per month. It also does not require credit checks or other eligibility criteria for households to participate.
Standard Starry Internet is currently available to purchase in New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and Denver, with plans to expand coverage to 40 million U.S. households.
“Too many Detroiters, particularly ethnic and racial minorities, lack access to an affordable, high speed internet connection, leaving them cut off from participating in today’s digital economy,” says Vickie Robinson, general manager, Microsoft Airband Initiative. “Our work with Starry will help bring under-connected communities across Detroit affordable access to the necessities and opportunities of the digital world.”