According to an FCC research study, one-third of all Americans - 100 million people - haven't adopted broadband at home.
Federal Communications Commission is unveiling a plan to bring broadband
Internet connections to eligible low-income families in the form of a contract
for two years of $9.95 broadband cable Internet, with a no installation or
activation fee option and no modem rental fees (with an option to purchase a
$10 modem). The offer will cover 15 million to 25 million Americans,
including 10 million to 15 million students, and the offer service area covers
over 86 percent of the population and reaches all 50 states, according to the
said eligible families must have at least one student enrolled in the Free
School Lunch Program, not be a current subscriber to broadband (or have
subscribed in the previous 90 days), and not have an overdue bill or unreturned
equipment to the participating service provider. In addition, Redemtech, a
technology refurbishment company, will offer refurbished $150 notebooks,
or desktops with LCD monitor, to all eligible school lunch families, shipped to
the home. The PCs will be preloaded to guide users to educational,
informational and job training content.
to an FCC research study, one-third of all Americans-about 100 million
people-haven't adopted broadband at home. Broadband adoption is key to
America's competitiveness, to jobs, e-government, education and energy, the
report said. The report also noted there is a growing divide between the
digital-haves and have-nots: Fewer than a third of the poorest Americans
have adopted broadband, while more than 90 percent of the richest have adopted
broadband. About 46 percent of low-income families have adopted broadband at
home, compared with over 90 percent of higher-income families.
service providers participating in the plan, which was announced Nov. 9, include
Bend Cable, Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Charter, Comcast (via Internet
Essentials), Cox Communications, Eagle Communications, GCI, Insight, Mediacom,
Midcontinent, Sjoberg's Cable, Suddenlink and Time Warner Cable. Offers will
launch in Phase I areas in the spring of 2012 and will be expanded nationwide
in September 2012.
addition, Morgan Stanley has committed to contributing its microfinance
expertise to assist the Connect to Compete program in its development of a
microcredit program to help families afford the upfront cost of a PC. The
program will also aim to provide financial literacy training and help families
build credit history through successful loan repayment. The microloans
will be provided by community-based financial institutions, the FCC said.
Communications and the cable industry are proud to pledge our support for the
FCC's -Connect to Compete' broadband adoption initiative, which combines
encouragement, assistance and training so that more students and families can
take advantage of the broadband opportunity," Cox President Pat Esser said
in a statement. "Cox has launched its own community-based broadband
adoption initiatives in California, Virginia and other markets so we have seen
first-hand how the comprehensive approach of attacking the entire broadband
adoption challenge-from digital literacy to affordability to relevance-is
vitally important to making the connection a success."
companies and non-profits announced the formation of Connect to Compete, a
nonprofit initiative to execute the nonprofit and private sector offerings made
to help close the digital divide, in October. The organization, which will be
housed at One Economy, will be a collaborative effort with other nonprofits and
industry partners. The Media and Technology Institute of the Joint Center for
Political and Economic Studies will serve as the independent evaluator of
Connect to Compete and will implement a longitudinal research plan that sets
program metrics and assesses the short- and long-term impact of the initiative.
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.