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Cincinnati Bell installs free Wi-fi in Dayton public housing

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Posted at 11:15 PM, May 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-27 23:44:58-04

DAYTON, Ky. — Free Wi-fi will be a “game-changer” for residents of Dayton’s Jamestown Village, where Cincinnati Bell connected public housing residents with the resources to work, learn and access health care online this week.

The small community, which houses about 143 people in 45 units, is one of several in the Tri-State on deck to receive free Wi-fi from Cincinnati Bell. Gordon Henry, executive director of the Dayton Housing Authority, is glad to see it.

“My goal when I came on is, ‘How do we give our folks more than just a place to live?’” he said Thursday.

Internet access can help. Some of Jamestown Village’s residents report paying $150 every month to get connected — a large sum for many people, but especially those living in low-income communities.

People with limited financial means might have to choose between life-sustaining expenses and the cost of getting online, which is necessary for many to attend school, work or search for a job, and get an appointment with their doctor.

It can keep people on the bottom even while they struggle.

"How do we make our residents have a more equitable life so they're on the same scale as everyone else and have the same opportunities?” Henry said. “It doesn't matter if you're working hard if you don't have the same benefits offered to you and the equity piece isn't there."

The Wi-fi is for specific purposes: School, work, tele-health and job hunting. Some sites, such as those used for gaming, will be blocked.

Mayor Ken Baker, who held a ribbon-cutting to celebrate, is optimistic on behalf of Jamestown Village.

"It gives our residents a great opportunity,” he said. “Kids are getting to learn more. Better research access. It brings good vibes to the city.”