A new pilot program called ConnectHome may be the first step in changing the online experience of low-income families around the country. Today the White House announced that Google, along with ISPs like Cox, Sprint, and Century Link will be providing 275,000 low-income families with free or deeply discounted broadband service. President Obama is expected to announce the plan during a speech at a high school in Durant, Oklahoma later today.
ConnectHome will initially affect 27 cities around the US
ConnectHome will roll out in 27 cities across the country, including Atlanta, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Newark, New Orleans, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. The initial rollout is focused on reaching low-income families with school-aged children. "While many middle-class US 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," the White House said in a statement, first reported by Bloomberg. The announcement comes after a new report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers that shows income is still the biggest barrier to gaining broadband access, even over geography.
Google Fiber will offer free service for low-income families in Atlanta, Durham, Kansas City, and Nashville, while Cox will offer broadband for $9.99 a month to families in cities including Macon, Georgia, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and New Orleans. The Department of Housing and Urban Development will also require new public housing developments to support broadband going forward. Best Buy PBS, the American Library Association, and Boys and Girls Clubs of America will offer internet training to low-income families as well in a number of cities.