NEW YORK - More than 5,700 residents of Mount Hope Housing Co. buildings in the Bronx now have access to affordable broadband service, thanks to the first collaboration of Verizon Avenue, a wholly owned subsidiary of Verizon Communications, and national nonprofit One Economy Corp.
The service, announced today at a news conference at the housing company's community park, uses fixed-wireless network technology to make high-speed Internet service available to the buildings' residents. Broadband will be available for $19.95 per month, an annual, first-year savings of more than 40 percent over comparable Verizon high-speed Internet services.
"Today marks a significant milestone in the revitalization of the Mount Hope community," said Shaun Belle, president and CEO, Mount Hope Housing Co. Inc. "We have worked closely with Verizon Avenue and One Economy to ensure that every Mount Hope resident has access to the opportunities that affordable broadband provides for educational and financial advancement, as well as for an improved standard of living. We expect the availability of affordable broadband to positively impact the entire Mount Hope community."
Eric D. Cevis, CEO of Verizon Avenue, said, "The success of the Mount Hope project underscores Verizon's goal to expand broadband availability throughout all of the communities we serve. We look forward to working on similar projects with One Economy, housing developers and community development corporations across the territory Verizon serves."
Rey Ramsey, CEO, One Economy Corp., said, "The Mount Hope project illustrates the power of public-private partnerships. Making affordable broadband available to communities such as Mount Hope opens up access to the opportunities borne of the digital age. The partnership with Verizon and Mount Hope highlights the positive outcomes that can be achieved through close collaboration. Affordable Internet access is an important tool that all Americans can use to take advantage of educational and employment opportunities."
Last year, Verizon and One Economy announced their agreement to work with housing developers to expand the availability of broadband access within multi-family properties throughout Verizon's service territory, encompassing 28 states and the District of Columbia.
Construction of the fixed wireless broadband network at Mount Hope, including all network equipment, new inside wiring and dedicated wall jacks began in August. As of today, the first phase of network deployment, covering four buildings and nearly 120 residential units, has been completed. By the end of February 2006, all 31 Mount Hope Housing buildings, encompassing 1,250 residential units, will have affordable broadband access.
As part of the agreement between Verizon Avenue and the Mount Hope Housing Co., every residential unit will be wired to receive high-speed Internet service. Residents who choose to subscribe to the service merely connect a computer to the dedicated wall jack located in their apartment and follow the instructions on the Verizon Avenue service subscription page that appears when they power up the computer.
Subscribers will pay $19.95 per month for a maximum connection speed of up to 1.5 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream and 384 kilobits per second (Kbps) upstream.* There are no installation charges, and an annual service contract is not required.
The high-speed Internet service available to Mount Hope residents supports many applications, including distance learning and telework, as well as everyday tasks such as e-mail and sharing photos with family members across the country or around the world. In addition, residents will be trained to use "The Beehive," One Economy's customized Web portal that provides online multilingual content to help people obtain training to use technology to raise their quality of life through a variety of self-help instructional resources for topics including money, health, school, jobs and child care.
Subscribers also will receive six e-mail accounts and 10 megabytes (MB) each of mailbox storage and Web space to create a personal home page. The service is backed by round-the-clock, live technical support, and Spanish-speaking service representatives are available for non-English speaking Mount Hope residents.
In addition to affordable broadband service, residents will be able to purchase and finance computers at attractive prices. Per Scholas, a Bronx-based nonprofit organization that refurbishes computers and sells them at low prices, will offer computers loaded with basic operating software for $195. Accessories, additional software applications and peripherals, such as printers, are available at an additional cost. Bethex Federal Credit Union will provide low-cost financing options for residents unable to purchase a computer with cash or credit card. Mount Hope Housing also will offer computer-training classes for residents.
* NOTE: Actual (throughput) speeds will vary.
About Mount Hope Housing Company
A community development organization, Mount Hope Housing Company, Inc. was founded in 1986 in response to the deterioration of the Mount Hope community of the Bronx. Since its inception, Mount Hope has invested over $100 million to provide affordable housing. Mount Hope empowers the community through a comprehensive range of programs, including robust youth services, employment and job training services, real estate development and financial literacy and family asset-building programs. The Mount Hope Technology Initiative, an investment of nearly $700,000, is designed to help community residents bridge the digital divide by through infrastructure improvements and computer-literacy and training programs. For more information about Mount Hope Housing Company, visit www.mounthopehousing.org.
About One Economy Corporation
One Economy is a national nonprofit organization that helps bring access to technology into affordable housing around the United States and uses that technology to connect low-income people to information and tools that help them improve their lives. One Economy's strategy is to bring technology into the home, provide online multilingual content through the Beehive (www.thebeehive.org) and to help people gain the comfort and training needed to use technology to raise their standard of living. Through its Bring IT Home campaign, One Economy has helped bring broadband into the homes of 200,000 low-income people. They have youth and on-the-ground programs in a dozen cities in the United States, as well as South Africa and the Middle East. For more information about One Economy Corporation, visit www.one-economy.com.
About Verizon Avenue
Verizon Avenue focuses on the deployment of broadband technologies to increase the availability of broadband service within the communities served by Verizon. The unit focuses on two primary markets - its traditional multi-dwelling unit (MDU) market and the emerging market of fixed broadband wireless. In the latter market, Verizon Avenue is deploying fixed wireless broadband to sparsely populated or hard-to-serve areas such as rural communities, tribal reservations and military housing. In the MDU market, Verizon Avenue bundles local and long-distance with high-speed Internet access for residents of high-rise properties and apartment and condominium communities in major metropolitan markets, including Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles, New York, Tampa and Washington, D.C. For more information on Verizon Avenue, visit www.verizon.com/avenue.
About Verizon Communications
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), a Dow 30 company, is a leader in delivering broadband and other communication innovations to wireline and wireless customers. Verizon operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving 49.3 million customers nationwide, and one of the nation's premier wireline networks, serving home, business and wholesale customers in 28 states. Based in New York, Verizon has a diverse workforce of nearly 215,000 and generates annual revenues of more than $71 billion from four business segments: Domestic Telecom, Domestic Wireless, Information Services and International. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.