The Housing Authority's Board of Commissioners voted this week to work toward providing free internet to all tenants.

According to a story reported on by iBerkshires.com, Jason Morin, the authority's information technology consultant, told the board on Monday that he is looking at a few different options to install internet at all properties.

Morin said, "There are different ways to do this and each one has its own challenge. We are looking at a lot of different angles."

Executive Director Jennifer Hohn said the Housing Authority looked in the past to provide limited internet access but now that the internet is essentially a utility, she felt the Housing Authority should find a way to offer it to tenants.

Jennifer explained further:

People are trying to find jobs and go to school, stuff like that. An internet connection is necessary and unfortunately a lot of our tenants can't afford that so we would like to offer that in the future.

Hohn said the service itself should cost the Housing Authority nothing. She has been communicating with Verizon about the possible installation of a cell tower on one of the smokestacks at the Greylock Apartments.
She said Verizon has offered to take on maintenance of the tower and pay the Housing Authority nearly $28,000 annually to lease the tower, which should more than cover internet service for all tenants.
Other options include building a separate infrastructure or going completely through Spectrum.
The commission voted to accept the plan, and Hohn said it should make the Housing Authority more attractive to new tenants.
"We are going to have a lot of vacancies, and we are going to have to fill those units," Hohn said. "We are going to need to give some sort of incentive to live in our units, and I think that free internet has value."
Hohn said she anticipates a large number of vacancies once the eviction moratorium runs out because many tenants are not paying rent.
For much more on the story, please visit iBerkshires.com's website here.

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