FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Senior Director of Communications
Fordham University has partnered with the Westchester County Association, the City of Yonkers, STEM Alliance, Yonkers Partners in Education (YPIE), and Westhab, to help launch the Yonkers Zone (Y-Zone). By utilizing Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum, the newly deployed, digital opportunity zone provides free internet access to approximately 250 to 400 need-based households in downtown Yonkers.
Y-Zone is a digital ecosystem that incorporates three core principles. The first is establishing digital equity driven by a coalition of committed local stakeholders, including residents and program youth. Next, the project will aim to achieve widespread adoption through community input and engagement. Lastly, it plans to advance digital fluency by providing device ownership and tech education as well as connectivity.
“This is a fabulous opportunity,” said Jane Bolgatz, Ph.D., associate professor at the Graduate School of Education. “Fordham is supporting the project by researching how getting free WiFi helps people improve their experiences with education, employment, and healthcare. We are also working with the terrific high schoolers at YPIE, who are so creatively figuring out ways to tackle the problem of the digital divide.”
The project was made possible through support from US Ignite, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and Schmidt Futures. The Westchester County Association was selected as a Project OVERCOME grant recipient in March 2021. The Project OVERCOME grant provided awards to seven communities in a $2.7 million effort designed to connect the unconnected through novel broadband technology solutions. The U.S. NSF conceived of and provided $2.25 million in funding for the project, and Schmidt Futures provided an additional $450,000. US Ignite managed the selection process and continues to oversee these projects along with multiple efforts to connect the benefits of emerging technology with some of our community’s people in need.
“Now more than ever, there is a growing need to bridge the digital divide that exists in communities across the country,” said Mike Spano, mayor of the City of Yonkers. “I am so proud Yonkers families will be given an equitable solution to technology that supports the education of our students. Many thanks to our Y-Zone partners … for recognizing that affordable connectivity is vital to the success and future of the city.”
In order to qualify, residents must live in the service zone, which reaches from Glenn Park to Park Hill Avenue, and from downtown Yonkers to Nodine Hill. Click HERE to complete the application.