City of Columbia brings broadband access to Colony Apartment community on Beltline Boulevard

September 24, 2020

City of Columbia Partners with Technology Companies, and Receives Generous Donation From Radio Personality Charlamagne Tha God, to Bring Broadband Access to Colony Apartment Community on Beltline Boulevard

On Friday, September 25, the City of Columbia launches the expansion of Wi-Fi to the Colony Apartments on Beltline Boulevard, through an initiative orchestrated by Sam Johnson, and a partnership with IGNITE CITIES (IGNITE). On Friday at 9:30 am Gregory Electric, with remote support from Mesh++ will begin installing ten Solar Powered Mesh WI-FI networking nodes manufactured by Mesh++ at the Colony Apartments at 3545 West Beltline Boulevard. The installation will be done by Gregory Electric using a bucket truck. The devices, which weigh 25 pounds, will be attached to lamp posts throughout The Colony Apartments facility.

Due to COVID-19, many of our families struggle without access to Wi-Fi. This free Wi-Fi program aims to provide access to students who are unable to access remote learning, and to families looking for both employment and COVID-19 assistance. This solution requires zero trenching or cables, and relies entirely on solar power and cell service, at absolutely no cost to the city or its residents.

“It is unconscionable to think that our students can receive a quality education without access to the internet,” said Sam Johnson. “We have to be creative in finding solutions to make sure our communities are able to address these growing, evolving challenges. I’m just thankful to be able to play a role in helping this take place here in Columbia.”

The first installation will support the residents of the Colony and North Pointe Apartments, and this community service project has also received a generous donation from South Carolina native and national level radio and television personality Charlamagne Tha God, and Elevation Church.

“As a father of three, I hate that two of my children had to do virtual learning, but you immediately get brought back to reality when you realize something that you take for granted, like Wi Fi, is a luxury that other people don’t have,” said Charlamagne Tha God.

“I saw a video of kids literally at a Taco Bell using the Wi Fi just to do schoolwork and that broke my heart,” Charlamagne Tha God continued. “Around this time every year I do a book bag drive but clearly this year that’s not what these students needed. I reached out to Mayor Benjamin just to ask him what can we do for kids who are experiencing these types of challenges, and he told me exactly what was needed, so now it’s done. I’m going to always be there for my people. When I say South Carolina, we all we got: I truly mean that.”

IGNITE Cities has initiated this COVID-19 Wi-Fi Relief Program in the United States with deployments active in New Orleans, Chicago, Miami, LA and Columbia.

This program was also launched in Chicago on July 28th. IGNITE, in collaboration with Mayor Benjamin and other mayors across the country have deployed Wi-Fi relief in Miami, New Orleans and LA. Local electrical contractor Gregory Electric will install the wireless WI-FI devices on existing utility poles at the Colony Apartments on September 25.

IGNITE is a consulting practice designed to develop, engage and ignite relationships with Mayors, CEOs and global technology firms. The objective is to architect a connected city by placing people at the center of our purpose. IGNITE has refocused the connected city space and developed a smart framework that can scale, replicate and become profitable. The result creates a visible impact that is measured by PEOPLE through citizen engagement, transformed infrastructure and improved city services.