CLEVELAND — One of Cleveland’s largest internet service providers announced a major investment Thursday in one of the city’s least connected neighborhoods. AT&T and City of Cleveland officials joined Glenville residents at the Ashbury Senior Computer Community Center to unveil new fiber internet service in the area as well as a new Connected Learning Center.
In addition to providing fiber Internet service to the Connected Learning Center, AT&T will also have installed fiber lines that will be available to up to 300 homes in the surrounding area. The fiber service far beats other options in the area in upload and download speeds, according to FCC Broadband Maps. The service will also be available at the subsidized price of $30 per month and, in some cases, absolutely free with available federal rebates, AT&T officials said.
With help from the Ashbury Senior Computer Community Center (ASC3), the new service will provide both access and education.
“Our AT&T Connected Learning Centers are designed to solve both access and adoption challenges. These centers provide high-speed AT&T fiber and Wi-Fi, access to new Dell computers and digital learning resources,” said Molly Kocour Boyle, President of AT&T Ohio. “We are here today to announce that we have brought fiber to the neighborhood and it is available to over 300 homes in this community. We know you must have it at the Connected Learning Center. You must have it at home. You must have it where you live, work and stay.
The new Connected Learning Center includes more than a dozen computers, which will be used in conjunction with ASC3’s courses and educational offerings. The center will also be available for students and neighborhood residents who need internet access.
“It’s another great day in the neighborhood,” said Wanda Davis, executive director of ASC3. “With the new fiber and the new WiFi connectivity, we are ready to have practical keyboards. When those hands hit the keyboards, that’s when hope becomes real change.
Since the onset of the pandemic, which suddenly pushed thousands of CMSD students and their families into an internet addiction for distance learning, Cleveland’s digital divide has never been more apparent. Large swathes of the east and west sides have extremely limited internet options. According to FCC Broadband Maps, many of these options do not have enough bandwidth to support remote learning, video conferencing, or telehealth appointments.
Ella Redeemer and Mary Bell started taking digital literacy classes at ASC3 more than six years ago. It is very rare that one of them misses a class.
“It was something to get me out of the house. I’ve learned a lot since I started coming here,” Redeemer said. “I didn’t know anything about computers. When I arrived, I really didn’t know anything.
Bell said she particularly appreciates and enjoys the one-on-one instruction provided by ASC3.
“When I arrived, I didn’t know how to turn on a computer, anything like that,” Bell said. “I love coming here because everyone is so friendly with each other. Miss Wanda Davis, she works with you one-on-one. If you don’t understand something, they will help you until that you get what you are supposed to get out of it.