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Cleveland: Microsoft's Airband to expand broadband access

The company announced the program will be expanded to include eight cities, including Cleveland.

CLEVELAND — EDITOR'S NOTE: The video in the player above is from a previous story.

Microsoft announced Wednesday that it will expand its Airband broadband internet initiative to eight additional cities, including Cleveland.

Across the United States, 120.4 million people still do not use internet at broadband speeds, according to new research from Microsoft. That's much higher than the 14.5 million people the FCC claims don't have access to broadband internet. In Cuyahoga County, Microsoft estimates about 444,000 people do not have broadband-speed internet access. And in Ohio, that number is estimated to be about 4.9 million.

The digital divide disproportionately affects Black and African American communities specifically, creating a severe disadvantage when it comes to accessing education, health care and economic opportunities. 

Since Cleveland is one of the cities that faces some of the largest broadband gaps in the country among racial and ethnic minorities, Microsoft announced it would bring expanded broadband access here, to address three core needs:

  • Affordable high-speed internet access 
  • Affordable devices 
  • To offer digital skilling tools to drive digital inclusion

In the city of Cleveland, Microsoft’s Airband initiative is:

  • Partnering with PCs for People to provide 1,000 East Cleveland residents with affordable, high-speed internet and affordable devices.
  • Partnering with nonprofit DigitalC to deploy Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) technologies
  • Providing free and low-cost refurbished devices to racial and ethnic minorities through partners like PCs for People and human-I-T, a nonprofit that repairs donated laptops and desktops and sells them at deeply discounted prices.
  • Working with partners like EveryoneOn to provide digital skilling so people can get better-paying jobs in the digital economy.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The video in the player below is from a previous story.