updated 05:30 pm EST, Wed November 9, 2011
Target: 17m low-income housholds not connected
Private industry is chipping in to help increase adoption of computer technology and broadband access in the US. FCC chairman, Julius Genachowski, announced today that the private sector will be contributing up to $4 billion in hardware and services to as many as 17 million low-income families. As part of the program, Microsoft will be offering $250 computers and the cable companies will be providing broadband Internet access for $10 a month.
"Roughly 100 million Americans aren't online at home," Genachowski stated in a speech earlier today. "That's a 68 percent adoption rate. Compare that to South Korea and Singapore where adoption rates top 90 percent. We can't afford to have a third of the country frozen out of the broadband economy."
The effort comes as part of the FCC's "Connect to Compete" initiative launched in late October. Microsoft will be offering the computers to low-income families with children eligible for the National School Lunch Program. Microsoft will be providing new desktop and laptop computers, Windows 7 OS and Microsoft Office. Additionally, Redemtech, a technology refurbishment company has committed to provide refurbished laptops or PCs for $150. These computers will be corporate grade, with Core 2 Duo processors, 4 GB of RAM, Windows 7, and Microsoft Office.
Cable companies, including BendBroadband, Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Eagle Communications, GCI, Insight, Mediacom, Midcontinent, Sjoberg's (SHOW-BERGS) Cable,Suddenlink, and Time Warner Cable will be offering these families $10 monthly broadband services with no installation fees, no activation fees, and no modem rental fees.