$10 million fiber pilot project for Detroit’s Hope Village neighborhood

DETROIT – The City of Detroit is addressing digital equity with a new $10 million fiber optic pilot project.

The pilot project will be funded by federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act and will take place in the Hope Village Neighborhood.

The Hope Village neighborhood is located between the Lodge and Davison Freeways.

Last September, the neighborhood experienced a devastating internet outage.

“Two days became two weeks became four weeks became six weeks,” said Jeffrey Jones, who lives in the neighborhood.

The outage lasted 45 days and also included telephone services.

“I have a school-aged daughter, so she was virtually home from school, using my cell phone, burning my data,” Jones said. “So it became an extra bill and a challenge for people.”

City of Detroit Director of Digital Inclusion Joshua Edmonds said the pilot project in Hope Village is a direct response to what happened.

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“For us, digital equity is a commitment to residents who have historically been on the wrong side of the digital divide. So it’s not something we look at last year or the last five years,” Edmonds said. “It’s a historic understanding that we want to be able to reach residents where they are and where they’ve been and give them that advantage of being able to say, ‘This is fiber optic internet. , the fastest Internet in the country.’ We want to make sure you get priority instead of going to other places and cities like downtown and downtown first.

The city will install fiber. From there, more ISPs may choose to offer the service.

“If we’re moving from a duopoly here on the home Internet experience between Comcast and AT&T, we’re now opening that up, or we’re now allowing more private providers to provide service in Detroit,” Edmonds said. “And that then allows us to say that we can now have competition here that can reduce costs and increase our customer service experience for Detroit residents.”

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It’s an exciting new chapter for residents like Jones.

“For decades, we have been victims of divestments. And so to see city leaders come in and say we’re going to invest $10 million in your neighborhood, bringing you not the second best technology but the fastest Internet for our neighbors, you just can’t put that in words.

Thusday, Connect 313 organized several forums to inform the community about the project and answer questions.

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