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Tech firm leaves Buffalo students in a lurch

HarpData, hired to provide wi-fi access to thousands of low-income families, is closing without finishing the job

BUFFALO, N.Y. — After nearly two years of doubts and delays, Buffalo Public Schools is canceling a contract to provide free wireless internet to some of the district’s neediest students. 

The reason: HarpData, the company the district hired to do the job, is going out of business.

An attorney for HarpData, Joseph Makowski, confirmed that CEO Ivory Robinson Jr. is “winding down” the company’s operations. Staff has been laid off. The company’s offices on Delaware Avenue in downtown Buffalo remain under lease, Makowski said, but are closed for business.

As a result, the beleaguered Connected Communities initiative — a $1.3 million project meant to provide wi-fi service to 5,500 students — is dead in the water, according to Nathaniel Kuzma, the district’s general counsel. 

For more on this story, please visit the Investigative Post website. 

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