Partnership Bringing Low-Cost, Cellular Internet Service to Lindsay Heights
New service relies on neighborhood-level cell network. Could eventually cover 40% of Milwaukee.
A partnership between two nonprofits aims to take a new approach to bring low-cost, high-speed internet service to an underserved Milwaukee neighborhood.
A transponder on Walnut Way’s Innovations and Wellness Commons, 1609-1617 W. North Ave., will offer wireless service within a one-mile area for those using a special modem. No wiring changes will need to be made to homes, aside from connecting the modem to a computer.
The new, prepaid service will cost $15 per month and offer download speeds of up to 50 megabits per second and upload speeds of up to 10 megabits per second.
Project representatives briefed the Common Council’s Public Works Committee Thursday on the effort.
Henke said the city is seeking a state grant to expand the service to cover 40% of the city with the technology.
“We are excited to grow more because we know there is certainly plenty of need in the community,” said PCs for People chief innovation officer Bryan Mauk. A city report says 25% of Milwaukee households lack at-home access to high-speed internet.
Alderman Robert Bauman asked if the nonprofit was in competition with Spectrum and other internet service providers.
“Competition is a strong word,” said Mauk. “Our general strategy is not to replace them, but to supplement them… We are interested in the communities that are left behind and those are who we want to serve.”
The effort builds on the 2018 installation and 2021 upgrade of free WiFi service at Fondy Park, 2200 W. Fond du Lac Ave. Because of limitations with WiFi technology, that service is accessible only when at or near the property.
The Public Works Committee unanimously recommended approval of a lease agreement to allow additional transponders to be placed on Milwaukee Fire Department stations at 1313 W. Reservoir Ave. (Fire Station 5) and 2903 N. Teutonia Ave. (Fire Station 30). PCs for People will also be able to connect to the city’s fiberoptic network.