Starry Launches Pilot Program with the Boston Housing Authority to Expand Affordable Internet Access in Boston’s Public Housing Communities

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Chet Kanojia

BOSTON — Starry, Inc., a Boston-based technology company pioneering the use of millimeter waves to deploy fixed 5G wireless last-mile gigabit broadband, announced that it is partnering with the City of Boston’s Boston Housing Authority (BHA) to launch a pilot program aimed at providing free and low-cost internet access solutions to housing authority residents.

Chet Kanojia

The program, called Starry Connect, is being piloted at BHA’s Ausonia Apartments and provides free, common area WiFi internet access to building residents. Ausonia residents can access the internet, free-of-charge, in the building’s community rooms and hallways. In addition, Starry is donating five computers for a designated computer lab for Ausonia residents. Located in Boston’s North End, Ausonia is a 100-unit, seven-story, housing complex specifically designed to serve seniors and disabled individuals.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, more than 24 million Americans still lack access to a high-speed internet broadband connection.1  And among lower-income Americans, nearly half do not have a broadband connection at home.2 Starry is helping address the digital gap via Starry Connect, a program aimed at providing a variety of free and low-cost internet access solutions for public and affordable housing communities. From building common area WiFi access to monthly, low-cost access plans, Starry Connect will offer simple, easy-to-understand and use plans for residents in public or subsidized affordable housing, through partnerships with cities, states and owners of affordable housing properties.

“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 Starry CEO and co-founder, Chet Kanojia. “We can’t sit on the sidelines and hope things get better. That’s why we’re launching Starry Connect. When we founded Starry, our mission was to build a better internet service and create a better customer experience for everyone. Closing the digital gap and the inequities that emerge as a result is something technology can help solve. 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.”

“We thank Starry for providing this valuable service to our elderly and disabled residents,” said BHA Administrator Bill McGonagle. “Starry’s commitment to digital equity is commendable and we look forward to continuing our partnership going forward.”

“The innovative partnership between the Boston Housing Authority and Starry Internet is an important step in advancing Mayor Walsh’s digital equity agenda and expands access to high quality broadband service citywide,” said Patricia Boyle-McKenna, Interim Chief Information Officer for the City of Boston. “Providing a computer lab and public WiFi is a great step in developing resources that Boston residents can utilize to fulfill their long-term pursuits in life.”

With its Boston beta launch in 2016, Starry was the first company to commercially deploy pre-standard 5G, point-to-multipoint fixed wireless technology to deliver gigabit-capable broadband to the home. Starry was also one of the first internet service providers to codify in its terms of service, its unwavering commitment to an open and neutral internet. Today, Starry is passing more than 350,000 homes in the Boston metropolitan area and is currently launched in Los Angeles and Washington, DC.

Starry is headquartered in Boston, with offices in New York City, Los Angeles and DC. In addition to Boston, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and New York, Starry will also expand its service to 18 additional markets over the next year including: Cleveland, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Denver, Seattle, Detroit, Atlanta, Indianapolis, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Miami, Memphis, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Manchester, NH, Portland, OR, and Sioux Falls, SD.

Starry is backed by a diverse group of investors including Tiger Global, KKR, Firstmark Capital, IAC, and HLVP. Starry currently employs more than 250 people and is rapidly growing.