Broadband v. COVID-19: Making Shelter-in-Place Possible for Low Income Families

The broadband service provider Starry is making its service free for existing customers in Public and Affordable Housing

Boston, Mass. (March 16, 2020) – As part of its commitment to keep our communities connected and online during the nation’s response to COVID-19, Starry, a wideband hybrid fiber wireless internet service provider, will provide all of its current Starry Connect customers with free service until the end of May. Starry Connect is a specialized affordable broadband program that partners directly with public and affordable housing owners to provide low-cost true broadband access with no data caps, long-term contracts or complex eligibility requirements for only $15 per month. To support this effort to keep families connected and online during the response to COVID-19, Related Companies, Starry’s largest affordable housing partner, has committed to covering the cost of Starry Connect for its residents who currently subscribe to the program.

50% of Low Income Households do not have access to broadband

“Our country is facing uncertain times and anything that we can do to bring a little more certainty to the communities we serve is important,” said Virginia Lam Abrams, Starry’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Strategic Advancement. “Beginning today, for subscribers currently in our Starry Connect program or for those who wish to sign up, we will cover the cost of their internet connectivity through the end of May, so they don’t have to worry about the cost of staying connected during this COVID-19 crisis. Keeping our communities connected and productive is essential over these next few weeks and Starry is proud to do what we can to help.”

“As we all face this unprecedented challenge, we are happy to support our Related Starry Connect subscribers in this way,” said Jeff Brodsky, Vice Chairman of Related Companies. “It is now more important than ever to stay connected as our Starry affordable housing families adapt to work-from-home and remote learning and helping them maintain connections with family and friends is critical. We are proud to do our part in helping our residents through this exceedingly difficult time.”

Starry has taken a number of actions in response to the COVID-19 health crisis to support the communities it serves: 

  • Last week, Starry pledged to suspend cancellation of service due to nonpayment as it relates to COVID-19.
  • Starry moved to expand its Starry Connect program to nearly 600 additional units of affordable housing in New York City.
  • The Federal Communications Commission and Congressional Leaders last week called upon internet service providers to suspend certain punitive customer practices, such as data caps and waive certain fees during the nation’s response to COVID-19. Starry’s internet service has never had additional fees, late fees or data caps as a standard business practice. 

According to the Federal Communications Commission, more than 21 million Americans still lack access to a broadband connection in the home, and among low-income families, more than half do not have broadband at home.  With the U.S. workforce increasingly transitioning to work and schooling from home and the need for telehealth services increasing, affordable broadband access has never been more important.  

Starry Connect is an official ConnectHomeUSA stakeholder with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and partners with public and affordable housing owners to make available a true broadband service plan for $15 per month, without long-term contracts, data caps, credit checks or other complex eligibility requirements. Starry Connect subscribers experience a minimum of 30 Mbps symmetrical speeds and all equipment, installation and 24/7 customer care are included in the monthly cost. 

The Starry Connect program is unique in that it does not require individual subscriber qualification to participate. Starry ties eligibility directly to the public or affordable housing owner to relieve the paperwork and qualification burden from the resident, with the goal of increasing broadband adoption and use across these communities. Starry Connect was officially launched in 2018 and counts the Denver Housing Authority, Boston Housing Authority, Innovating Housing Concepts (Englewood, CO Housing Authority), Related Affordable, HCCI and Beacon Communities as its largest public and affordable housing partners. 

Starry Internet is available in New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, Washington, DC and Denver. To learn more or to see if your building is in coverage or to sign up, visit: https://starry.com/internet.  

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 About Starry, Inc.

At Starry, Inc., we believe the future is wireless and that connecting people to high-speed, broadband internet should be simple and affordable. Using our innovative, next generation fixed wireless technology, Starry is deploying gigabit-capable broadband to the home without bundles, data caps, or long-term contracts. Starry is a different kind of internet service provider. We put our customers first by protecting their privacy, ensuring access to an open and neutral net, and putting the customer experience at the heart of everything we do. Headquartered in Boston and backed by world-class investors, Starry is currently available in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Washington, DC and Denver and is expanding nationwide. To learn more about Starry or to join our team and help us build a better internet, visit: starry.com.