The FCC is teaming up with "most" of the big cable companies to offer $9.95 broadband to low-income families that qualify for the free school lunch program and don't already have the internet. The program, building on a $9.95 plan Comcast debuted in September, was announced today by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, who claims 25 million households will be affected. "If we give children better digital technology, we're much more likely to see the next generation of innovators like Steve Jobs develop," said Genachowski. On top of the cheap internet, Microsoft is helping out with $250 PCs, and another company called Redemtech will ship a refurbished PC to a qualifying home for $150. Best Buy is involved, offering up its Geek Squad for computer literacy training, and Morgan Stanley will set up a microfinance program for computer purchases. The entire Connect to Compete initiative should be in full swing by September of next year. After two years of cheap broadband (which is roughly at-cost for providers) the family will have to re-up for full price if they wish to continue service. In the meantime, according to Genachowski, everybody involved will be richer, happier, and more productive — low-income families can apply for jobs, learn skills, and save money with online shopping, and big tech companies can make nice with their FCC frenemy.
FCC's Connect to Compete initiative offers low-income homes $9.95 broadband
The FCC is teaming up with "most" of the big cable companies to offer $9.95 broadband to low-income families that already qualify for the free school lunch program and don't already have the internet.