CLEVELAND, Ohio — Spectrum, a cable television and Internet provider, is offering 60 days of free Internet access to any student without it during the coronavirus crisis.
Both colleges and K-12 schools are shifting to online classes to help slow the spread of the virus. But many households in Ohio have no Internet access, so their schools have to hand out lessons on paper and can’t offer email or online feedback.
Here’s Spectrum’s offer:
Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households.
Spectrum also offers Spectrum Internet Assist, a broadband program that delivers speeds of 30 Mbps for $17.99/month, including modem.
The Cleveland school district is reviewing the offer to see if it recommends the deal for its students.
Bill Callahan, research and policy director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, a Columbus-based group that wants better Internet connections for all, praised the offer.
His only caution was that it could take time to connect households.
“I don’t think the price is the obstacle [right now], so much as the logistics of getting set up,” he said. “Just having the offer is not going to make the whole thing happen.
He added: “We hope that will all work smoothly, but that remains to be seen.”
Census estimates from 2018 show 29% of Cleveland households have no Internet access. East Cleveland leads Cuyahoga County, with 43% of households lacking Internet access. In Lorain, 26% have no Internet.
But in Solon, only 8% of homes lack Internet access, with just 5% in Orange and 3% in Pepper Pike.
According to a study by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, Lorain is the 16th worst-wired big or medium-sized city in the country. In that study, which looks at households with cable, DSL or fiber broadband, Cleveland is 33rd out of 623 communities nationally with 50,000 or more households.
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