SAN FRANCISCO, May 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Common Networks, a Bay Area-based wireless internet service provider (ISP), is now bringing discounted connectivity to the Alameda Point Collaborative (APC), the largest housing community for formerly homeless families in Alameda County. As COVID-19 increases stay-at-home orders, the need for high-speed home internet becomes increasingly critical for at-home learning, health guidelines and more. However, until partnering with Common, many APC residents were completely unable to access a broadband connection. By building these connections from scratch and providing ultra high-speed internet at a reduced cost, Common is expanding internet access for at-risk communities that are only made more vulnerable by this pandemic.
"COVID-19 has truly exposed the divide in access to basic necessities, including high-speed internet access, across our country," said Common Networks CEO and Co-Founder Grace Chen. "We founded Common on the belief that everyone should have a fast, accessible internet connection, and now we're proud to partner with APC to provide families with resources they need most."
In addition to a general information gap due to lack of internet access, families living at APC have been faced with the "homework gap" — the difference in academic performance between students who have access to high-speed internet at home and those who don't. While some local students have been provided with Chromebooks and mobile hotspots for e-learning, unreliable long-term connectivity may still prevent them from completing their schoolwork.
"Like many in low-income communities during these times, some members of the APC community lack access to broadband and the necessary tools to participate in online courses," said APC Executive Director Doug Biggs. "We're really excited for Common's services, and our residents feel the same way."
Resident Debra Young was among the first to receive the new service. "What they're doing for the kids is really great," shared Debra, "My granddaughter can communicate with her teachers now, and she'll be able to get through school to make it into the next grade." Fellow resident Lisa Alderson said "I'm very thankful. It's a lot better than trying to use the hotspots that were first provided by APC. With those, Zoom wouldn't work, but now with Common it does."
Following Common's installations, APC youth will be able to access online instructions and not fall behind in their schooling. Teaching staff can connect with youth students remotely to track and assure school attendance, assist with assignments, and provide after school programming with regular services like therapy and life skill development activities. With consistent internet availability, residents can also more easily follow CDC guidelines to limit the potential spread of COVID-19. This increased connectivity will ensure APC families have access to basic resources that were once out of reach.
Through this partnership, APC will pay Common a reduced rate for its services. Common is currently in the process of completing the installation of rooftop hardware in the 118 units in 50 buildings on the APC base to connect them to the internet wirelessly. All residents will have a connection by mid-May.
About Common Networks, Inc. Common Networks is a technology company providing first-of-its-kind wireless internet powered by local connections. Using groundbreaking proprietary innovations, Common delivers unparalleled speed at a reduced cost. Common is disrupting industry standards with complete transparency in pricing and customer service.
In less than three years, Common's network has provided coverage to over 100,000 people in a fraction of the time—and at less than 1/50th of the price it would take to lay fiber optic internet for these communities. The company has raised more than $34 million in funding to date from notable partners, including General Catalyst, Eclipse Ventures, and Lux Capital. Based in San Francisco, Common was founded in 2016 by Grace Chen, Jessica Shalek, Zach Brock and Mark Jen to provide accessible, high-speed internet services for all.
About Alameda Point Collaborative Alameda Point Collaborative (APC) is the largest supportive housing community in Alameda County. In 1999, APC transformed vacant military housing on the former Alameda Naval Air Station into a supportive housing community. APC now provides over 500 formerly homeless residents with the safety and stability of a place to call home. Coexisting with two partner non-profit agencies, over 500 residents have easy access to life and job skills training, substance abuse and mental health counseling provided by a team of highly skilled professionals. APC's mission is to break the vicious cycle of poverty and homelessness by providing unwavering support and resources to Alameda residents.