Extending free Starry Connect service to Mar Vista Gardens residents will provide the necessary resources for families impacted by the digital divide, critical as schools return to online learning this month.
Starry, Inc., a wideband hybrid fiber wireless internet service provider, today announced that it will be providing its Starry Connect service, free of charge until the end of 2020, to residents of the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA)’s Mar Vista Gardens community. Located in Los Angeles’ Del Rey neighborhood, Mar Vista Gardens comprises more than 600 households, 36% of which have school-aged children. Starry Connect is a high-quality, uncapped, true broadband program that partners with public and affordable housing owners to provide ultra-low-cost broadband access to residents.
Starry’s announcement comes as most California school districts, kicked off the new school two weeks ago, forgoing in-person instruction for online-only learning in the wake of the continuing COVID-19 health crisis. Researchers from USC’s Annenberg and Price schools estimate that roughly one-in-four households with school-aged kids, or nearly 250,000 families, in Los Angeles County lacks access to both broadband internet and either a laptop or desktop computer. In addition to providing Starry Connect service free of charge until the end of the year, Starry also donated 21 Chromebooks to Mar Vista Gardens families with school-aged children identified by HACLA as not having the devices necessary for online learning in the home.
“Innovations in online learning are allowing school districts like Los Angeles to stay connected with students in these challenging times,” said Virginia Lam Abrams, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Strategic Advancement at Starry. “However, a large number of students will be left behind without reliable home internet access. Digital equity is at the core of Starry’s mission to provide everyone with high-quality, affordable internet access. We are proud to do our part to support HACLA and the City of Los Angeles in its ongoing mission to close the digital gap for all residents. It’s our hope that lowering the barriers to internet access will have meaningful and positive long-term impacts on the educational outcomes for students living at Mar Vista Gardens.”
“During this crisis, connectivity and devices are vital to all of our families – for learning, staying in touch with our loved ones, and making sure we have the essentials needed to stay healthy and safer at home,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “We can only navigate this new reality through the power of partnerships, and Los Angeles is grateful for companies like Starry who have stepped up to help us close the digital divide and better serve our neighbors in Mar Vista Gardens.”
“Our relationship with Starry couldn’t have come at a better or more opportune time,” said HACLA CEO Doug Guthrie. “From the onset of the pandemic, offering low cost internet options at Mar Vista, to the present moment, as students return to online learning this fall, extending the Starry Connect service at no charge through the end of the year will help in our ongoing effort to level the playing field for our residents.”
“Starry’s partnership at Mar Vista Gardens will greatly enhance the academic and workforce development access for our residents living adjacent to Silicon Beach,” said Pamela Paige, Workforce Development and Section 3 Manager at HACLA. “With free access to high-quality broadband, Mar Vista Gardens youth will be able to participate in distance learning and in online programs such as the FDIC Money Smart Financial Literacy Program, Transition Aged Youth WOW Job Readiness Program, HACLA/South Bay Workforce Investment Board Career Development Series, ZIP Recruiter, Audubon Urban Forestry Program Tour, Virtual College Tour and more.”
“HUD is committed to helping bridge the digital divide for youth and families in Los Angeles by partnering with HACLA and ConnectHomeUSA,” said HUD Pacific Regional Administrator Christopher Patterson. “We are excited about this collaboration with Starry, Inc. to support families with school-aged children at Mar Vista Gardens, and we applaud HACLA for helping students in HUD-assisted households be best positioned to excel academically despite this challenging time.”
The Starry Connect program provides 30 mbps symmetrical speeds, all in-home WiFi equipment and installation, and personalized customer care to all its subscribers for $15 per month. Starry Connect is unique in that it does not require a long-term contract, pre-qualification, credit checks, or other complex individual eligibility criteria that are common requirements of other affordable access plans and often serve as barriers for resident sign-up.
Starry Connect is an official ConnectHomeUSA stakeholder with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is helping to bridge the digital divide for HUD-assisted housing residents in the United States. Starry Connect officially launched in 2018 and in addition to HACLA, counts the Denver Housing Authority, the Boston Housing Authority, Innovative 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 Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, Washington, DC and Denver, with an expansion roadmap that will cover more than 30 million U.S. households. Starry is currently available in select areas in Los Angeles. To see if your building is in coverage or to sign up, visit: https://starry.com/internet.