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City Heights, Latonia Terrace Residents to Receive Free High-Speed Internet

Two communities operated by the Housing Authority of Covington (HAC) are to receive free high-speed internet thanks to a partnership with Cincinnati Bell.

"It was imperative we do everything we could do to bridge the digital equity divide by providing free high-speed Wi-Fi to our residents," said Jon Adkins, HAC director of resident services.

Latonia Terrace and City Heights residents have a greater than ever need for internet access due to the pandemic, job losses, erratic school sschedules, health concerns, or delayed benefits assistance, an announcement said.

More than six hundred units in the two communities will have high-speed internet inside, effective immediately.

HAC is using funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to pay for the necessary hardware and monthly service charges for a minimum of three years.

"Our families face many challenges already. Historically, they've had to navigate life without the full benefits of the internet. By adding the internet in our family communities, we hope to provide the resources needed for families to achieve their goals and children to succeed in school," said Steve Arlinghaus, HAC executive director. 

The project is also part of the Covington Connect initiative, a $2.5 million effort to address what is referred to as "the digital divide", a reference to those in the community who lack necessary access to reliable internet service. That plan hopes to create 125 WiFi hotspots around the city and to donate 1,900 computers to families of Covington students who lack that capacity.

The initiative will not only help students learn but also help families access employment and economic opportunities, said Covington Mayor Joe Meyer, who is also chairman of the HAC board.

"This is a huge accomplishment by HAC, one that will pay off for generations to come for our Covington families," Meyer said. "In a world where internet access is increasingly necessary to do everything from applying for a job to accessing health care to paying rent to attending college to cashing paychecks, Covington Connect will ensure that many more of our families have ready access."

-Staff report

Photo: View of Covington from City Heights (RCN file)

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