A new program called ConnectHome unveiled by the White House will see Google, Sprint, CenturyLink, and others offering free or low cost Internet access to low income families. According to Jeff Zeints, director of the National Economic Council, over half of low income Americans don’t have home Internet service.
The ConnectHome program is looking to change this and more than 275,000 low-income households will be receiving free Internet plans or have access to prices as low as $9.95 per month. Google is looking to offer residents of some public housing communities free access to their Google Fiber service. Google, Sprint, CenturyLink, and other companies and private groups will spend $70 million over the next few years on the initiative, and a federal grant of $50 million will go towards extending broadband access to the Choctaw Tribal Nation in Durant, Oklahoma.
“While many middle-class U.S. students go home to Internet access, allowing them to do research, write papers, and communicate digitally with their teachers and other students, too many lower-income children go unplugged every afternoon when school ends,” according to a White House statement about the program.
In addition to the free and low cost Internet access, the ConnectHome program will see businesses providing digital literacy classes, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development will require broadband support at new public housing developments in an effort to equal the digital divide. According to a study released by the Council of Economic Advisors, lower median household income areas have home Internet adoption rates of roughly 50% while more affluent areas have adoption rates of more than 80%.
The program will initially start as a test in 27 cities and the Choctaw Tribal Nation at an as of yet undetermined date.
What do you think of the ConnectHome initiative? Let us know in the comments below, or on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter.Source: Bloomberg
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