Yesterday, at a public school in Washington, DC, joined by cable and technology executives and nonprofit leaders, FCC Chairman Genachowski announced an unprecedented effort to help close the digital divide, bringing low-cost broadband and computers to millions of low-income Americans.
Right now nearly one-third of the country – 100 million Americans – doesn’t have high-speed Internet at home. Compare that to Singapore and Korea, where broadband adoption rates top 90 percent. Minorities and low-income Americans are the hardest hit by this divide. Research shows that cost, relevance, and digital literacy are the primary reasons many people aren’t connecting. Whether we're talking about jobs, education, or health care, in this day and age, getting online is a necessity, not a convenience.
The “Connect to Compete” effort will offer millions of families eligible for the National School Lunch Program discounted $9.95/ month broadband Internet, $150 laptop or desktop refurbished computers, and free digital literacy training. This represents a $4 billion in-kind offering for tens of millions of Americans. And it won’t spend any taxpayer dollars.
Yesterday, President Obama said: “This important partnership between my Administration and American businesses represents a major step towards closing the digital divide -- connecting more families to the 21st century economy, creating new jobs and unleashing new opportunities, and helping America win the future.”
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