The FCC has chosen New York-based CLEC Xchange Telecom as part of an 18-month pilot project to advance broadband adoption. Xchange will begin rolling out a discount plan beginning in February for eligible low-income customers.
The company, which offers local, long-distance, Internet and VoIP services via its agent channel, is one of 14 chosen participants. The FCC plans to use the pilot programs to rigorously test how best to use a “Lifeline” discount program to support broadband adoption. Xchange’s pilot will focus on specific neighborhoods in Brooklyn and gather data and provide analysis on a wide a range of geographic, technological and programmatic variables.
In partnership with Baruch College of the City University of New York, Xchange will test market different Lifeline discount plans in different areas of Brooklyn, in order to provide the FCC with actual results assessing adoption rates. In addition, Xchange, in partnership with CUNY and Older Adults Technology Service (OATS) will also offer digital literacy classes to a select group of participants in the pilot to also help increase broadband adoption rates.
Xchange is also working with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to provide Lifeline broadband discounts in a group of NYCHA developments located in Brooklyn.
“Xchange is thankful to all of its partners, and the myriad of area elected officials who have helped support its participation in the pilot program, including State Senator Daniel Squadron and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer,” the company said in a statement.
Xchange Telecom, founded in 2002, has been expanding its focus lately. It serves thousands of small, medium and enterprise-sized business customers throughout the metropolitan area with its own facilities and interconnections. In the last year, Xchange has been developing a 4G wireless network in New York City to provide voice and data solutions, and is deploying a WiMAX-based fixed wireless network called Skywire around Brooklyn. Xchange is in the process of deploying initial base stations on rooftops and has just launched its pilot program.
Simultaneously, Xchange is deploying a point-to-multipoint, business grade network in the Brooklyn area. Xchange’s network will allow business to receive SLA-level data connections.