Report on Free Apartment Wi-Fi, $14M from Connectivity Fund, DZS Appoints Chief Customer Officer

BEAD can help close the broadband affordability gap in apartments, organization says.

Report on Free Apartment Wi-Fi, $14M from Connectivity Fund, DZS Appoints Chief Customer Officer
Photo of Gunter Reiss, used with permission

July 12, 2023 – EducationSuperHighway, a broadband affordability non-profit, released Wednesday a new report containing data, tools, and resources to help states leverage federal broadband funding to launch free apartment Wi-Fi programs that can close what it said are the 20 to 25 percent of America’s digital divide concentrated in affordable apartment buildings.

Modeled after how Wi-Fi is delivered in most hotels today, free apartment Wi-Fi programs are a cost-effective way to bring reliable, high-speed internet to 6.5 million unconnected people that lack home broadband, the organization said.

By allocating a portion of the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment funds, states can close 23 per cent of the broadband affordability gap, the organization said, adding the program would connect 450,000 households in underserved affordable apartment buildings. Additionally, 75,378 more buildings are eligible for free Wi-Fi installation using BEAD funds, it added.

EducationSuperHighway found it to be a cost-effective solution and one which can result in an increase of $2,000 to the annual income of under-resourced households. It also has the potential to generate an economic impact of $7.8 billion per year, the report said.

Congress has recognized the importance of free apartment Wi-Fi by including it as an eligible use of broadband infrastructure funds, the organization said.

“By explicitly including the deployment of Free Apartment Wi-Fi as an eligible use of broadband infrastructure funds, Congress recognized the potential of Free Apartment Wi-Fi programs to close the digital divide,” said Evan Marwell, CEO of EducationSuperHighway, in a statement.

“To seize this unprecedented opportunity, states should commit BEAD and DEA funding to deploy these programs, ensure all eligible buildings are included in their BEAD Initial Proposals, and follow NTIA’s guidance to validate the FCC Broadband Map.”

FCC plows $14M from Emergency Connectivity Fund

The Federal Communications Commission announced Wednesday it is committing $13.9 million from the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program to help students remain connected outside of school.

The commission said the funding will benefit approximately 35,000 students nationwide. Students in states such as California, New York, Illinois, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia will be among those who receive support.

Approximately 52 schools and school districts, as well as five libraries and library systems, will receive support from the funding. It can be utilized to facilitate off-campus learning, including nightly homework and online learning programs during the summer.

“In or out of session, connecting students to digital resources remains vital to their academic success.  Libraries and schools ensure students have access to the internet year-round.  That’s why we are pleased to announce another round of funding that will empower libraries and schools to provide students the digital tools needed to close the Homework Gap,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in a press release.

DZS appoints Gunter Reiss as CCO for AEMEA regions

DZS, a global telecommunications equipment company based in Texas, announced Wednesday that it has appointed Gunter Reiss as chief customer officer for the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Africa regions.

“I am thrilled to assume the role of Chief Customer Officer and lead the next chapter of the company’s growth and market expansion with a relentless focus on customer advocacy in AEMEA,” Reiss said in a press release. “As we exit a challenging dynamic supply chain environment, our relentless focus will be to provide our customers with the best technology and support experience.”

Since joining DZS in February 2022, Reiss has been part of the executive leadership team and has worked in technology and market dynamics and the DZS customer community.

As DZS’s chief marketing officer, Reiss led the company’s brand and go-to-market initiatives in the broadband access and metro optical transport markets and developed strategic service provider relationships and global technology partnerships.

Prior to DZS, Reiss was a member of the executive leadership team at A10 and before that, he was on the leadership team at Ericsson leading global strategy and business development for IP, broadband access, and wireless technologies.

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