Company set to provide WiFi to affordable housing developments in Princeton lacked required contractor certificate

LEA KAHN/STAFF

The Princeton Council is going back out to bid to seek a vendor to bring Internet access to residents of the affordable housing developments owned or managed by the Princeton Housing Authority and Princeton Community Housing.

The Princeton Council rejected the sole bid for a contract to provide Internet service to the affordable housing developments at its Jan. 19 meeting. The company lacked the required public works contractor certificate. State law requires contractors who work on publicly-funded projects to hold a certificate.

Administrator Marc Dashield told the Princeton Council that the administration reached out to the vendor that is applying for the public works contractor certificate. The initial bid was “on the street” during the holidays, which may have limited the number of bidders, he said.

Dashield said the town may receive additional bidders when the request for bids goes out for a second round.

Princeton is in line to receive grant funding through a federal Community Development Block Grant, which will cover the costs of installing the equipment and providing free Internet service to the residents of the affordable housing developments.

Once the equipment and infrastructure are in place, the vendor may be able to offer low-cost Internet service to residents in the neighborhood, Princeton officials said. Internet service to the residents of the affordable housing units will be free.

WiFi is increasingly necessary for everyone, officials said. It is necessary for senior citizens and other adults looking to connect to news and information, job opportunities and family and friends.

Students also need Internet access for remote learning and even for regular assignments, once in-person education resumes. The Princeton Public Schools has resorted to remote instruction periodically since the COVID-19 pandemic erupted and schools were closed in March 2020.

The vendor will bring the infrastructure and services to the residents of the 236 units in five developments owned and managed by the Princeton Housing Authority – the Hageman Homes on Clay Street; Maple Terrace and Franklin Terrace on Franklin Avenue; Lloyd Terrace at the end of Spruce Street; and Redding Circle, off Mount Lucas Road.

The nearly 470 units in developments owned or managed by Princeton Community Housing – Princeton Community Village, off Bunn Drive; Griggs Farm, off Cherry Valley Road; and Elm Court and the Harriet Bryan House, both off Elm Road – also will be included.