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Wireless internet service provider WeLink has begun offering gigabit wireless service at no charge in Washington D.C. to households that qualify for participation in the FCC Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). 

The deployment was made possible through the district’s Community Internet Program, which provides free access to rooftops owned by the district to providers willing to offer free service to ACP households at symmetrical speeds of at least 200 Mbps. Service will also be available to non-ACP households at “affordable” prices, according to WeLink.

The ACP program pays up to $30 toward the cost of broadband service for low-income households.

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According to a press release, WeLink was able to deploy service to one D.C. neighborhood in just 30 days.

Gigabit Fixed Wireless

WeLink first emerged last year when it began offering symmetrical gigabit fixed wireless service in Phoenix and Las Vegas. At that time, WeLink CEO Kevin Ross told Telecompetitor that the service uses 5G millimeter wave and 60 GHz wireless technology that WeLink developed. He also noted that the equipment uses a mesh approach.

With a mesh approach, one customer’s equipment can act as a repeater for another customer, thereby extending range. That’s important for any equipment operating in millimeter wave spectrum, which supports high speeds but only over relatively short distances. 

Ross also told us at that time that WeLink is only targeting non-rural areas.

Beyond D.C.

WeLink hopes to extend the approach used in D.C. to other cities. The company has created its own WeLink Cities Digital Equity Program, through which the company offers to provide free service to ACP households and to invest up to $100 million per city that it decides to work with.

Cities have until July 15 to apply to participate in the program. 

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