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Starry launches pilot program with Boston Housing Authority to expand affordable internet access

Internet service provider Starry announced today the launch of its Starry Connect program with a pilot through Boston Housing Authority (BHA) to help provide free access to internet for residents living in one of the city’s public housing apartment complexes.

The Boston-based startup launched in 2016 with a plan to provide internet access through a spoke-and-wheel system of transmitters and access points. This point-to-multipoint system uses a phased array laser on top of a city building to send a 5G signal out that users can connect to via Starry Points that can be installed at a window or personal roof.

“Access to high-speed broadband is critical for education, communication, and personal and professional development, and yet today, many people still lack access to a basic, affordable, and reliable internet connection,” said Chet Kanojia, co-founder and CEO, in a statement. “That’s why we’re excited to partner with the Boston Housing Authority to devise creative solutions to help get more of their residents online and engaged with the critical services they need.”

With the program Starry launched today, residents of the public housing apartment building will be able to access free Wi-Fi in the building’s common area, hallways and new computer lab.

Virginia Lam Abrams, Starry senior vice president of communications and government relations, told TechCrunch that some residents may also be able to access the signal in their rooms, but the primary focus for this installation is to provide common area access for these primarily elderly and disabled residents.

Because Starry Connect’s pilot launch in the BHA building is part of the Boston public housing system, residents will receive free connection, but Starry also has plans to provide low-cost pricing options for residents living in affordable housing, as well.

The program has no set end date, says Abrams, but the company has plans to check in with residents in a few months to see where the program is succeeding and where it can be improved. Following this initial pilot launch, Abrams says that Starry has hopes to expand into other BHA communities, as well as public and affordable housing in other U.S. cities.

Since its launch, the startup has expanded into Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., and following a $100,000 million funding round it closed this July, has plans to scale and expand into more cities in the coming year including Houston, Chicago, San Francisco and Portland, Ore.



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