Powernet has teamed with Oyler School, the city of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS), and local businesses to bring Wi-Fi access to a large portion of the Lower Price Hill community.
Details of the project were made public in an announcement and ceremony this morning at Oyler. Along with Wi-Fi access to Oyler School and Community Learning Center, surrounding blocks, including parks and businesses, have been outfitted as Wi-Fi hotspots, making Internet service available to the general public. In addition, Powernet made a substantial donation of 50 tablet PCs (including keyboard cases and two lockable rolling carts) to Oyler.
City councilmember PG Sittenfeld, who was critical in facilitating the project, elaborated on the government’s role in the partnership, which included the use of zero taxpayer dollars.
“We had the very enviable role of getting to play facilitator, coordinator and amplifier in helping to bring together a generous community partner with the leadership of our school district, and that’s what got us to this point,” Sittenfeld said.
Allison Stevens, CEO at Powernet, reiterated sentiments shared by the councilman.
“This project was done to erase the digital divide,” she told an auditorium of people that included local media, members of the Lower Price Hill community, students at Oyler and representatives from the school board, city council and Powernet.
“We are honored to be a part of this project...and we’re just really excited about what this opportunity brings to the community,” Stevens added.
Cincinnati Public School Board President Eve Bolton also spoke at the ceremony.
“This is really all about the future vision...The world has come to Oyler to see how to do something,” she explained when discussing the coalition between the community, the school and the city working together to build a neighborhood of opportunity for children to succeed.
After the announcement, attendees of the ceremony were invited to Blochead Pizza, the first active Wi-Fi hotspot in the area outside of the school, for further discussion and free slices of pizza. Bloc Ministries, owners of the pizzeria, along with resident Donna Jones and CELC’s Patti Gleason, were key facilitators of the project, granting Powernet permission to install Wi-Fi access points.
The successful implementation of the Oyler/Lower Price Hill Wi-Fi network, along with the partnerships developed along the way, could lay the groundwork for similar projects in other communities around the Cincinnati area.