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Managed WiFi Solutions for MDU / MTU, Hotel, Assisted Living, & Restaurants

Wi-Fi Is a Win/Win for Class B/C Building Owners

According tolargecouplelaptop_small Multifamily Executive, Class B/C apartments will get a big boost in the coming year.  Wireless amenities are going to play a big role as B/C building owners look to differentiate their properties with affordable amenities that will attract and retain renters.  Wi-Fi is known as the most requested amenity by the B/C demographic, including millennials and working-class individuals and in-building cellphone reception is non-negotiable.  Managed wireless services differentiates a property, can create an additional revenue stream to offset the cost and solves the most pressing in-building voice problems facing building owners: poor in-building voice coverage.

Millennials especially will forgo many in-unit luxuries in exchange for fast, reliable Wi-Fi and great cellphone coverage.   They are known to value experiences over spending their money on homes, in fact a recent survey showed that millennials would prefer to have Wi-Fi over on-site laundry.   Providing residents with adequate wireless services is an inexpensive way for building owners to differentiate their property.  In regards to in-building phone coverage, millennials and Gen Xers simply won’t rent if they cannot use their cellphones inside.  Wi-Fi provides building owners with a Win/Win as it can be used to provide the data services amenity that renters crave while also providing Wi-Fi calling services within a building that has poor voice coverage at a fraction of the cost of a Distributed Antenna System.

A managed property-wide Wi-Fi calling system offers building owner the ability to generate additional revenue at their property, but providing complimentary Wi-Fi calling and amenity Wi-Fi services throughout the property but charging residents for in-unit data services.  This approach allows B/C class building owners to get a return on their Wi-Fi investment and let the system pay for itself.

For more information email: marketing@spotonnetworks.com

Spot On Networks Announces Emergency Responder Radio Booster Product For Multifamily and Commercial Buildings

Spot On Networks Announces RadioBoost™ – Emergency Responder (ER), An Emergency Responder Radio Booster Product For Multifamily and Commercial Buildings

Spot On Networks announces RadioBoost™ – Emergency Responder (ER) a product that provides in-building radio signal coverage for Emergency Responders.

 

For Immediate Release

New Haven, CT June 14, 2017

Spot On Networks announces RadioBoost™- Emergency Responder (ER), a public safety radio frequency booster system that brings outdoor radio coverage inside of a building.  This system provides first responders with emergency communications radio coverage in the areas where they need it most including hallways, corridors, garages and subterranean levels.

In post-9/11 United States, regulations have been made at the national, state and local levels mandating emergency responder communication coverage for building occupancy.  RadioBoost™-ER fulfills the requirements for national, state or local ordinance that mandates coverage.  RadioBoost™-ER provides coverage in the 150 MHz (VHF), 450 MHZ (UHF) and 700/800 (LMR) bands with the ability to provide coverage in future bands as mandated.

Ensure First Responders can communicate inside of your building with RadioBoost - First Responder, a part of the CellBoost Family of Services.

Ensure First Responders can communicate inside of your building with RadioBoost – First Responder, a part of the CellBoost Family of Services.

Today’s new building construction is built with energy-saving low-emissions glass, concrete and steel which are notorious for blocking radio and cellular frequency from penetrating a building and can result in emergency response communication gaps.  Building owners need to provide RadioBoost™-ER or similar radio frequency coverage within their buildings to provide reliable coverage for fire fighters, police and other first responder personnel.  RadioBoost™-ER creates safer buildings in the event of an emergency.

RadioBoost™-ER is part of the CellBoost® Family of Services.  In 2012, Spot On Networks released the CellBoost® Family of Services, a line of products developed to solve problems related to poor radio frequency coverage inside of buildings.  The first CellBoost® product, a carrier-agnostic service, brings outdoor cellular coverage inside of a building allowing residents and staff to user their cellphones inside.  The CellBoost® Family of Services now includes 3G cellular coverage, 4G cellular coverage and coverage in the Emergency Responder bands.

“RadioBoost™-ER was developed so that building owners can protect their buildings, residents and staff by providing adequate emergency responder radio coverage”, stated Dick Sherwin, President & CEO of Spot On Networks, “More and more we are seeing mandated regulations at various levels of government relating to Emergency Responder coverage and RadioBoost™-ER fulfills this need for building owners.  Spot On has been at the forefront of solving in-building wireless coverage issues, especially as it relates to new construction since the early 2000’s and we are proud that RadioBoost™-ER is dedicated to creating safer properties for our customers”.

 

 

About Spot On Networks

Spot On Networks (“SON”) is a wireless internet service provider and wireless consulting company representing tens of thousands of residential and commercial tenants, nationwide.  SON designs, deploys and manages carrier grade Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Calling and CellBoost® networks to multifamily, senior living, hospitality, retail and commercial buildings.  Spot On’s wireless networks are backed by patented network architecture and UserSafe® technology.

SON is the leading provider of managed Wi-Fi networks and in-building voice solutions to the U.S. multitenant housing market and is a trusted leader in wireless since 2004.  SON develops wireless solutions to solve the most pressing problems facing today’s building owners.

Bridging the Digital Divide

To download a copy of this White Paper click on the following link or cut and paste into your browser: Bridging the Digital Divide Broadband in the Affordable Multitenant Complex – SON Whitepaper 3-2017

White Paper:

Bridging the Digital Divide

Broadband in the Affordable Multitenant Complex

Author: Dick Sherwin, Member Wireless Hall of Fame

Affordable housing developments are increasingly leaning toward high speed broadband services reflecting changing life styles of the population.  These developments need to offer facilities to bridge the digital divide.  In a rule established by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”)  effective on January 19, 2017, certain subsidies have become available:

 

“Through this proposed rule, HUD continues its efforts to narrow the digital divide in low-income communities served by HUD by providing, where feasible and with HUD funding, broadband access to communities in need of such access. Broadband is the common term used to refer to a very fast connection to the Internet. Such connection is also referred to as high-speed broadband or high-speed Internet. In this rule, HUD proposes to require installation of broadband infrastructure at the time of new construction or substantial rehabilitation of multifamily rental housing that is funded by HUD………….. Installing unit-based high-speed Internet in multifamily rental housing that is newly constructed and substantially rehabilitated with HUD funding will not only expand affordable housing for low-income families but will provide a platform for individuals and families residing in such housing to participate in the digital economy, and increase their access to economic opportunities.”[1] 

 

Many housing authorities want to provide a series of services to their residents, including health services, employment services, directions, etc. that can be easily done via a portal to on line housing authority services.  To provide such services, broadband to the residents is required.

 

Broadband has become a utility, much like water, heat and air conditioning.  Wireless broadband, specifically WiFi has become a necessity for residential, retail and entertainment facilities and is now becoming a necessity for affordable housing as well.  There are several reasons for these occurrences:

 

  1. Mobile data traffic (wireless) grew 74 percent in 2016 and is projected to increase eightfold by 2020.[2]
  2. Average smartphone usage grew 43% in 2015 and more than 50% of all traffic from mobile connected devices will be handled by WiFi or femtocells.[3]
  3. According to an analysis by the Center for Economic Opportunity, 22 percent of New York City households do not have internet service at home and 36 percent of households below the poverty line do not have internet access at Recent data on smartphone use by the Pew Research Center shows that one in five American adults rely on smartphones as their primary source for Internet access. According to Pew, half of all people with no or limited home Internet have had to cancel or suspend their phone service because of financial constraints.[4]

Affordable multitenant developments will benefit from the use of high speed WiFi internet and data access in a number of important ways.  “Bridging the Digital Divide” has become a euphemism for broadband deployment in low income housing.  But high speed wireless communications has become so important in the daily lives of affordable housing residents for a host of reasons.

 

Providing broadband access to these residents promotes completion of homework to school age children, makes finding jobs easier for those looking for them, offers easy access to various city services including health services and other municipal services and lastly provides an additional level of safety via notifications.

 

A Network as a Service (“NaaS”) that provides very secure, consistent connectivity, with seamless connection throughout the development will offer the quality of experience required.  High speed backhaul connected to a WiFi NaaS provides residents with the capacity and speeds needed for education, viewing of services, economical video streaming and communications.

 

Spot On Networks’ NaaS utilizes patented technology to provide secure wireless services with seamless connectivity throughout a residential development.  The NaaS requires high capacity within buildings and extremely high speed backhaul bandwidth to the mixed use development.  Using  a network of various elements, including wireless access points with gigabit speeds and video streaming capability, combined with the incorporation of Gigabit Ethernet to the development, Spot On Networks is one of a very small number of companies that has implemented such high capacity, high quality services.  It’s latest project, in conjunction with the New York City Mayor’s Office, New York City Housing Authority (“NYCHA”) and the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (“DoITT”) offers high speed wireless service to all 7,000 residents of the NYCHA Queensbridge complex, the largest of its kind, so that they are able to receive consistent, high quality access to the internet and various other services.  Reaction to the broadband implementation at Queensbridge has been universal.

 

“NYCHA’s vision for the families who live in our communities is one that is safe, clean and connected.  Our residents, who include more than 100,000 children, have lacked access to the benefits that the wireless broadband Internet provides,” said NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye.

 

“I’m thrilled that new broadband services are being delivered to Queensbridge houses,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. “Broadband is needed for everything from completing homework to searching for a job to starting and running a small business.”

 

“The Mayor’s initiative to bring free wireless high­capacity Internet access to public housing units in New York City marks a crucial step towards addressing one of the most important social justice issues of our time. Without a persistent data connection, you cannot thrive in the 21st century; with one, you are on your way towards achieving the dignity and autonomy every human being deserves,” said Susan Crawford, Professor at Harvard Law School.

 

“The Mayor’s plan for high­speed residential wireless networks is a giant leap towards universal, affordable broadband in New York City. These kinds of smart investments in broadband infrastructure are precisely what the city needs to remain a global leader,” said Jared Kushner, formerly of the Kushner Companies.

 

To bring (high speed, high capacity services to affordable housing developments is not inexpensive.  Utilizing WiFi to provide such services is the most cost effective mechanism available today.   With the advent of the HUD ruling, in conjunction with the Lifeline Broadband Program, funds are available to implement the infrastructure and the NaaS for affordable housing so that all people can be brought into the 21st Century.

 

 

 

 

 

[1] HUD/HUDSEC RIN: 2501-AD75

 

 Narrowing the Digital Divide Through Broadband Installation in HUD-Funded New Construction and Substantial Rehabilitation (FR-5890)

 

[2] Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast 2016-2020

[3] IBID

[4] New York City Mayor’s Office – July 2016

We get subpoenaed all the time… tales of a managed Wi-Fi service provider.

Computer crime concept.We get subpoenaed all the time. It’s the reality of being a managed wireless service provider and one of the most important, and often least talked about, aspects of the service we provide to our building owner clients. CALEA (The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act) Compliance is one of the main differentiators between offering your residents WiFi services from a managed provider and hotspot services from a cable company or telco.

Just this week we were called out west to testify in a trial where illegal activity took place over the WiFi network of one of our properties. Luckily, when the government needed to obtain network activity, the property had Spot On UserSafe® WiFi services and was therefore in compliance with CALEA. We, as the service provider, work with the government entity to provide all the necessary information, testimony and technology pathways to gain information. If the property in question had simply provided unmanaged hotspot WiFi connectivity, they would not have been able to provide the pathways to information gathering that the government needed and could have been subject to a fine of $10,000.00.

CALEA fines are no joke, they are real and they are enforced. We have had multiple customers come to us for services after having incurred a fine for being out of compliance with CALEA. No property owner should have to incur this fine, it is completely preventable. While a simple hotspot can be very inexpensive or even free to put unmanaged hotspot WiFi into your amenity areas but the whole thing falls apart if a CALEA request comes in and the property is out of compliance.

For those who are not familiar with CALEA, it requires a “telecommunications carrier” to ensure that they have the ability to enable law enforcement officials to “conduct electronic surveillance”. Essentially if a property throws up a router to provide WiFi services to residents, they become the “telecommunications carrier” and are liable for fines and other acts of law enforcement if they cannot fulfill CALEA requirements. As a managed service provider, we handle all aspects of CALEA compliance so the building owner does not need to worry.

In addition to CALEA requests, another common issue we run into are government requests related to Copyright Infringement. This is another very real scenario where building owners find themselves subject to fines and even in some instances could be labeled a “co-conspirator” to illegal activity that took place over their network. A managed service provider handles Copyright issues as well.

To sum it up, a managed service provider is much different than a Comcast or AT&T, our mission in everything from our network monitoring to our network architecture is design with the building owner in mind. While you may pay less for cable or telco services, sometimes even getting them for free, you can’t put a price on peace of mind. That is what UserSafe® WiFi is all about: peace of mind for the building owner and providing a great service for residents that increase property value.

UserSafe Technology

Spot On Networks Receives Patent For UserSafe® Technology

New Spot On Networks’ Patent Relates To Increased Security for Wireless Services

For Immediate Release

New Haven, CT January 11, 2017

Spot On Networks (“SON”) announced today the issuance to it by the US Patent Office of a patent that enhances user security over WiFi networks.  A Network as a Service (“NaaS”) that employs UserSafe® technology reduces or eliminates the possibility of hacking, spoofing and identity theft. This unique and patented technology spans all elements of an entire wireless network, not just the access points, and is vendor agnostic.  No matter at which point in the network an attempted hack is made, other devices cannot be seen.  If they cannot be seen, they cannot be hacked or spoofed.

Spot On Networks UserSafe  technology

Spot On Networks UserSafe® technology

The United States Patent Number 9,544,831, is for client isolation technology that offers a system and method that isolates each individual user over a wireless network or a NaaS.  Users are prevented from seeing or communicating with other users while over WiFi backed by UserSafe® technology and are protected from scanning, hacking and identity theft.  UserSafe® technology also allows for one physical network to be segmented into multiple Virtual Area Networks (VANS) where one VLAN utilizes the client isolation technology and another allows for communication between devices to allow for other services such as back-office, security and IoT.  VLANs that allow for device-to-device communication do not effect end users on a VLAN that is backed by UserSafe® technology.

“It is imperative that we meet and exceed the growing demand for secure wireless services. UserSafe® technology does just that,” stated Richard “Dick” Sherwin, CEO of Spot On Networks.  Dick went on to say, “Our company is founded on providing fast and reliable wireless services while protecting the personal information, data and internet activities of our network users.  Spot On has spent years to build the most secure WiFi technologies in the marketplace and we are proud to continue to make advancements in the security of WiFi our top priority.”

Spot On Networks has invested in the development of security technologies that differentiate it’s “NaaS” from typical public WiFi “hotspots” or unmanaged WiFi networks in order to meet the demand for wireless internet security.

“WiFi access is no longer an amenity, it is a utility,” explained Spot On Networks Sr. Director of Marketing, Jessica DaSilva, “We have seen a huge demand for WiFi security solutions in the multifamily housing market and the public in general.  WiFi security is always of the utmost concern to Spot On Networks as a wireless internet service provider.  Our UserSafe® Technology keeps a WiFi user invisible to other users on the network and if you can’t be seen, you can’t be hacked”.

About Spot On Networks

Spot On Networks (“SON”) is a wireless internet service provider and wireless consulting company representing tens of thousands of residential and commercial tenants, nationwide.  SON designs, deploys and manages carrier grade WiFi, WiFi Calling and CellBoost® networks to multifamily, senior living, hospitality, retail and commercial buildings.  Spot On’s wireless networks are backed by patent-pending network architecture and UserSafe® technology.

SON is the leading provider of managed WiFi networks and in-building voice solutions to the U.S. multitenant housing market and is a trusted leader in wireless since 2004.  SON develops WiFi-backed solutions to solve the most pressing problems facing today’s building owners.

 

We are building the largest affordable housing WiFi network in the U.S. – here is what we are learning

As a wireless service provider to the affordable housing industry we are in a unique position to see the direct effect that providing wireless services can have on a community. We are currently building the largest affordable housing WiFi network in the country at Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City, NY. The service, QueensbridgeConnected, in partnership with the City of New York, is a network build over 3K units spread across 26 clusters of 95 buildings and will offer speeds up to 25 Mbps to all residents and provide seamless roaming across the community. Block 1 of 6 is turned on and we are about to light up the second.

We occupy a small office/ customer support center in the center of Queensbridge Houses and because this is such a large network build, we have begun to develop an intimate relationship with the community. We are gaining deep insight into the effects that providing a free service like Community-Wide WiFi throughout an affordable housing community can have. Here are some of the key things we have noticed:

  • Connectivity helps to bolster positive community efforts. Developments like Queensbridge Houses have vibrant, active and passionate communities. Residents and community groups are able to leverage the new technology that is available to improve communications and broaden participation in activities, events and alerts.
  • Residents see opportunity. The response to service in the first block has been overwhelmingly positive. Residents who had been paying very high prices for Internet service are now relieved from a large monthly financial burden. Parents are able to provide their children with new avenues of connectivity and access to educational resources and those looking for work now have a better chance at finding it.
  • WiFi creates jobs. Due to the scope of the network at Queensbridge and the mixed demographic it has been important for us to educate the community that the network is available and how to use it. Who better to help us do this than residents who live in and are well known in the community? We are committed to training and hiring Queensbridge residents for on-site positions with our company. These employees have become a valuable part of our organization and the success of the project.
  • Security is a big concern. Residents at all of our affordable housing communities express interest over the security of the network they are using, especially while outdoors or in amenity areas. They are right to do so. We have invested a lot of resources into developing and patenting UserSafe technology – our back-end client isolation technology allows users to bank, shop, conduct personal business, etc. without be vulnerable to security threats. We are the only company that can provide this level of security and our patented technology eases the burden of worry from both the city and the resident.
  • There can be barriers. A new free service in an affordable housing community can raise some concern among residents as to “what the catch” is. While informing residents of the network and its benefits we often need to explain that we are not trying to sell something and that the service is absolutely free. After years of consistently raised prices, contracts and difficulty from carriers and cable companies, the skepticism is not unwarranted. In communities where the demographic tends to be elderly or there are language barriers – it becomes even more important to be deeply engaged with the community and educate residents on how to utilize the service for their benefit.

For a network like Queensbridge Houses, network management is key. The level of security, network architecture, project management and community effort that needs to be coordinated to deploy a WiFi network like the one at QB can only be found through a managed service provider. The managed solution needs to have a dedicated NOC that fields support inquiries 24/7 and takes the service burden from the city.

For more information about Spot On Networks:

Jessica DaSilva Sr. Director Marketing & Sales – 203-523-5210

Spot On Networks Receives Patent For UserSafe® Technology

Spot On Networks Receives Patent For UserSafe® Technology

New Spot On Networks’ Patent Relates To Increased Security for Wireless Services

For Immediate Release

New Haven, CT January 11, 2017

Spot On Networks (“SON”) announced today the issuance to it by the US Patent Office of a patent that enhances user security over WiFi networks.  A Network as a Service (“NaaS”) that employs UserSafe® technology reduces or eliminates the possibility of hacking, spoofing and identity theft. This unique and patented technology spans all elements of an entire wireless network, not just the access points, and is vendor agnostic.  No matter at which point in the network an attempted hack is made, other devices cannot be seen.  If they cannot be seen, they cannot be hacked or spoofed.

Spot On Networks UserSafe  technology

Spot On Networks UserSafe® technology

The United States Patent Number 9,544,831, is for client isolation technology that offers a system and method that isolates each individual user over a wireless network or a NaaS.  Users are prevented from seeing or communicating with other users while over WiFi backed by UserSafe® technology and are protected from scanning, hacking and identity theft.  UserSafe® technology also allows for one physical network to be segmented into multiple Virtual Area Networks (VANS) where one VLAN utilizes the client isolation technology and another allows for communication between devices to allow for other services such as back-office, security and IoT.  VLANs that allow for device-to-device communication do not effect end users on a VLAN that is backed by UserSafe® technology.

“It is imperative that we meet and exceed the growing demand for secure wireless services. UserSafe® technology does just that,” stated Richard “Dick” Sherwin, CEO of Spot On Networks.  Dick went on to say, “Our company is founded on providing fast and reliable wireless services while protecting the personal information, data and internet activities of our network users.  Spot On has spent years to build the most secure WiFi technologies in the marketplace and we are proud to continue to make advancements in the security of WiFi our top priority.”

Spot On Networks has invested in the development of security technologies that differentiate it’s “NaaS” from typical public WiFi “hotspots” or unmanaged WiFi networks in order to meet the demand for wireless internet security.

“WiFi access is no longer an amenity, it is a utility,” explained Spot On Networks Sr. Director of Marketing, Jessica DaSilva, “We have seen a huge demand for WiFi security solutions in the multifamily housing market and the public in general.  WiFi security is always of the utmost concern to Spot On Networks as a wireless internet service provider.  Our UserSafe® Technology keeps a WiFi user invisible to other users on the network and if you can’t be seen, you can’t be hacked”.

About Spot On Networks

Spot On Networks (“SON”) is a wireless internet service provider and wireless consulting company representing tens of thousands of residential and commercial tenants, nationwide.  SON designs, deploys and manages carrier grade WiFi, WiFi Calling and CellBoost® networks to multifamily, senior living, hospitality, retail and commercial buildings.  Spot On’s wireless networks are backed by patent-pending network architecture and UserSafe® technology.

SON is the leading provider of managed WiFi networks and in-building voice solutions to the U.S. multitenant housing market and is a trusted leader in wireless since 2004.  SON develops WiFi-backed solutions to solve the most pressing problems facing today’s building owners.

 

 

Spot On Networks Turns On Free WiFi At Queensbridge Houses While Creating Jobs For Residents

Spot On Networks turns on Queensbridge Connected free WiFi network in Block F at Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City, NY in partnership with the New York City Housing Authority

For Immediate Release

New Haven, CT December 12, 2016

Spot On Networks Queensbridge Connected Office 10-35 41st Ave Long Island City, NY

Spot On Networks Queensbridge Connected Office 10-35 41st Ave Long Island City, NY

Spot On Networks (“SON”) has turned on Queensbridge Connected, the free community wide WiFi network that is being deployed throughout Queensbridge Houses in partnership with the New York City Housing Authority. The Queensbridge Connected WiFi network is being built in phases with the first phase completed, the “Block F” phase, consisting of 4 clusters of 15 buildings containing approximately 600 residential units. SON is currently in the process of building and testing the second phase of the network, “Block E”, which is projected to be live before the end of the year.

The Queensbridge Connected free WiFi network will be the largest affordable housing, community-wide WiFi network in the United States upon its completion with high speed WiFi access being live across 26 clusters of 95 buildings in two adjacent complexes.

SON has opened an on-site customer care center for residents and support at Queensbridge Houses, 10-35 41st. Ave. Long Island City, NY.  In addition to SON’s 24/7 Customer Support, residents have the option of getting in-person support at Queensbridge Houses.  SON is currently employing two full-time and 3 part-time Queensbridge residents as part of their staff and has committed to creating more jobs and hiring from within the Queensbridge community.  In a recent WIRED magazine article about the Queensbridge Connected network, reporter Gideon Lewis-Kraus stated: “Spot On emphasizes that it’s not just deploying wireless, the company says, but creating local jobs to help maintain the service”.

Dick Sherwin, wireless visionary and CEO of Spot On Networks said, “We are honored to be bringing WiFi to Queensbridge Houses”, he went on to say, “Along with Mayor de Blasio we deeply believe that all New York City residents, regardless of income, should have access to secure and reliable wireless broadband.  We are thrilled to be the WiFi provider for Queensbridge Houses and are committed to providing an extraordinary service to Queensbridge residents as well as employment opportunities to those looking for work.”

The Queensbridge Connected WiFi network will offer speeds up to 25 Mbps, unlimited data usage, WiFi calling capability, seamless roaming and 24/7 customer support, providing Queensbridge residents connectivity and access to educational and employment resources.

SON was recently designated as a Lifeline Broadband Provider by the Federal Communications Commission.  SON’s application for Lifeline Broadband Provider designation is indicative of SON’s commitment to provide broadband and wireless services to those most in need.

About Queensbridge Houses

Queensbridge is the largest public housing development in North America with 3,149 units and an estimated 7,000 residents across 26 clusters of 95 buildings in two adjacent complexes. The contract is to provide wireless internet speeds of up to 25 Mbps to each household as well as network monitoring and management with a 24/7 help desk for Queensbridge residents and staff. The Queensbridge WiFi network will include high speed wireless internet for laptops, smartphones and tablets, WiFi calling capability with Quality of Service and integration for the Internet of Things. The Queensbridge WiFi network will allow many residents to save money on comprehensive data services while having access to WiFi calling using their smartphones, thus comporting with the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline Report and Order of April 27, 2016 bridging the digital divide.

About Spot On Networks, LLC

Spot On Networks is the largest Wireless Internet Service Provider to the multifamily industry. In addition to offering its UserSafe® managed WiFi services to the multifamily, hospitality and commercial industries, Spot On Networks has a range of wireless services including CellBoost®, a cell coverage enhancement service, and WiFiPlus+®, its wireless backbone integrated with energy management, building automation and security monitoring. www.spotonnetworks.com

Telcos Opt-Out Of FCC Lifeline Broadband – Affordable Housing

A majority of major telecommunications companies are opting out of the FCC Lifeline Broadband subsidy program and public advocacy groups are not happy about it.

In order to be designated for the Lifeline Broadband subsidy,  a provider has to apply, offer certain levels of service and support as well as be able to remain functional in emergency situations.  The FCC released the first report and order designating four Lifeline Broadband providers, including Spot On Networks who is offering community-wide high speed WiFi access throughout Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City which is the largest affordable housing complex in the United States.

Major telcos have neglected to apply for Lifeline Broadband designation.  Fortune magazine stated on Friday that Frontier, Century Link and AT&T had filed to opt out of the subsidy while Verizon “sought forbearance from the requirement except where it offers Fios Internet service”.

The move by the majority of major telcos have many human rights advocates very unhappy about their lack of participation in the Lifeline program which would have huge impacts on low-income housing.   According to Fortune, “only about one-third of the 40 million households that are eligible for the Lifeline program lack broadband”.  Both the FCC and public advocacy groups hope that improving connectivity in low-income housing housing will contribute to better access to resources for school work, employment searches and applications and other tasks.

Some of the advocacy groups that criticized AT&Ts lack of participation include the National Hispanic Media Coalition, The United Church of Christ, The National Consumer Law Center, The Benton Foundation and others.  Fortune quotes Jessica Gonzales, general counsel at the National Hispanic Media Coalition’s statement:

“Lifeline is an historic initiative that will help connect millions of Americans to the home and mobile broadband that could serve as their pathway out of poverty with access to greater educational and economic opportunities… AT&T’s decision to opt out of obligations sets a dangerous precedent for other carriers who may also choose to neglect low-income customers.”

AT&T responded to criticism by saying that they offer their own low-cost services program to qualifying customers, however the service has requirements including an online application, necessary participation in SNAP and a credit check which can pose barriers for certain consumers. AT&T also complains that the subsidy is not enough to cover broadband in urban areas.

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