To help bridge the digital divide between Americans who have access to the Internet and those who do not, Google will provide free Google Fiber service to some public housing residents, the company said yesterday.
Google will roll out the free service to select public and affordable housing projects in the markets where Google Fiber currently operates, including Atlanta, Raleigh-Durham, Nashville, and Kansas City. The company said it would also waive the $300 installation fee.
Bridging the Digital Divide
The announcement comes just six months after President Barack Obama said he would make extending Internet access to poorer Americans one of the priorities of his administration. More than 50 million people currently do not have regular Internet access, often due to lack of access to high-speed connections. Just 26 percent of households making less than $30,000 a year use the Internet regularly, according to the Pew Research Center.
Google’s initiative is part of ConnectHome, a new program by the federal government to expand high speed Internet service to more people. The program seeks to connect more than 275,000 households as part of its initial pilot program.
“The Web is where we go to connect with people, learn new subjects, and find opportunities for personal and economic growth,” Erica Swanson, head of community impact at Google Fiber said in a blog post yesterday. “But not everyone benefits from all the Web has to offer.”
The plan to extend high speed Internet access to low-income households was the result of work with the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA), one of the first cities in which it will launch the initiative, according to Google.
Austin had been developing a similar program on a local level in collaboration with Google. The company said that more than 90 percent of Austin residents living in HACA housing had signed up for Google Fiber, while more than half had signed up for additional digital literacy training.
Training and Tablets
The federal program is being run by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which described the ConnectHome program as a complement to the president’s plan to provide 99 percent of K-12 students access to the Internet through their classrooms and libraries.
In addition to Google Fiber, seven other Internet service providers have pledged to provide high-speed connections to low-income families, including CenturyLink, Cox Communications, Sprint, and Vyve Broadband.
As it did in the city of Austin, Google said that in addition to connecting low-income households to high speed Internet, it will also work with the ConnectHome initiative to develop basic computer skills training and create computer labs to host these training sessions in each market where Google Fiber operates. Best Buy said it will provide training and technical support as part of the program, while the James M. Cox Foundation said it will make 1,500 discounted tablets available to low-income families.
Posted: 2015-07-17 @ 7:38am PT
It is something else that the workers will have to pay for! The costs always get passed on to those of us working! So sick of it!