AvidXchange, an accounts payable software company, is spearheading an initiative to provide free public Wi-Fi to residents in Charlotte, North Carolina. The company announced this week it has completed the first stage of its Wi-Fi infrastructure project in Charlotte’s West End district.
The first Wi-Fi hub is situated at a local small park, serviced by a gigabit fiber connection antenna installed on the roof of AvidXchange headquarters. Rob Phocas, AvidXchange’s director of corporate social responsibility, told Fierce the project is AvidXchange's first foray into Wi-Fi infrastructure and that it ties into AvidXchange’s Tech Rising initiative, established in 2020 by the AvidXChange Foundation.
“We recognize that high-speed internet access can play a critical role in propelling students, working professionals and their families forward, but it can be costly,” said Phocas. Tech Rising works with corporations, nonprofits and other entities to close broadband gaps throughout the city. The initiative has, for instance, distributed refurbished laptops with internet access to local schools to promote digital access and literacy.
As Charlotte grows as a technology hub, AvidXchange is “deeply committed to strengthening its technology ties within the local community,” Phocas said. AvidXchange is also working with the city's municipal government to further connect residents in the Charlotte metro area.
“Through our partnership with AvidXchange, we have started providing free internet access and are working to widen the coverage area to include even more neighborhoods and bridging the digital divide,” said Malcolm Graham, city councilman of Charlotte’s District Two, in a statement.
Corridors of Opportunity, a Charlotte city-wide initiative, has dedicated $38.5 million to improving infrastructure, transportation and other components throughout six Charlotte corridors. Access Charlotte, a division of Corridors of Opportunity, aims to accelerate Wi-Fi development in mass transit and other public spaces.
AvidXchange’s project is a development aligned with similar public-private partnerships aiming to boost broadband accessibility across the country.
AvidXchange’s priority is to ensure Charlotte’s local community has equitable access to internet-connected devices, said Phocas. The Wi-Fi infrastructure project is the first step in granting community members better broadband access and economic mobility.
“We will also continue to be the catalyst for bridging the digital divide and bringing together corporate partners and community organizations in Charlotte to maximize our impact,” he concluded.