MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin — Nearly 1,000 households in the Westlawn Gardens community will have access to affordable high-speed internet. With support from the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM), and Microsoft, PCs for People built a 4G LTE tower to provide internet access to residents at an affordable cost of $15 per month or completely free if the resident uses their federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) benefit. Unlike many other high-speed internet service providers, PCs for People does not require a contract or credit check. Westlawn Gardens residents will receive the first month of service free of cost, as well as a free modem.
“PCs for People is thrilled to join the exciting and transformational outreach provided by the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee in the development of the Westlawn Gardens community,” said Thami Hastings, Community Impact Manager at PCs for People. “This project demonstrates the best of public/private partnerships and how we can meet residents’ needs by working together. It is a model that will inspire PCs for People as we advance digital equity across the country.” Nearly 1,000 housing units are planned for Westlawn Gardens with 773 completed or under construction. The high-speed internet will be available to all of the homes, as well as the neighborhood’s playgrounds and garden. This expanded connectivity area was requested by the community and supported by the Housing Authority.
“By connecting more residents of Milwaukee, affordable, high-speed internet can add to our economy and to educational achievement. It is an effort to empower everyone, and I appreciate all the support this project has received,” Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said. As part of this initiative to improve digital access, PCs for People and Microsoft will provide a complimentary Microsoft Go 2 computer to the first 100 residents registered in the pilot phase. All Westlawn Gardens residents can also purchase low-cost laptops and desktops through the ACP benefit.
“Our world is becoming more digital every day, but people without broadband and a device to use it are effectively cut off from opportunity,” said Vickie Robinson, general manager of Microsoft’s Airband Initiative. “We’re proud to work with the Housing Authority and PCs for People to ensure all residents of Westlawn Gardens have greater access and adopt affordable connectivity – and the opportunities of the digital world beyond.”
HACM is developing Westlawn Gardens as a mixed-income, mixed-use neighborhood to meet the community’s housing, retail, and social service needs. With 958 affordable and market-rate housing options, new parks, playgrounds, retail spaces, and partnerships to deliver services to neighborhood residents, Westlawn Gardens is helping to transform Milwaukee’s northwest side for generations to come.
“Great communities are built through partnerships, and we sincerely thank the partners who are ensuring that every resident of Westlawn Gardens can participate fully in the digital world through this new affordable high-speed internet service,” said Willie L. Hines, Jr., HACM Secretary-Executive Director.
“It’s very important for the community to have affordable access to internet service and computer equipment,” said Jackie Burrell, Westlawn Resident Council President. “This great new service increases options for Westlawn Gardens residents to connect with family, friends, jobs, health care, school, and other important parts of daily life.”