CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) and Cox are among various service providers that are going to take part in President Obama's new ConnectHome initiative, a pilot program that is designed to provide broadband to low-income families in 27 cities and one tribal nation.
Set to initially reach over 275,000 low-income households--and nearly 200,000 children--with Internet access, ConnectHome will establish partnerships with a group of ISPs, nonprofits and the private sector to offer broadband access, technical training, digital literacy programs, and devices for residents in assisted housing units.
As two of the active wireline members of this program, CenturyLink and Cox already offer services to low-income residents. CenturyLink provides up to 1.5 Mbps for $9.95 a month through its Internet Basics program, while Cox offers a similar service for the same price for qualifying residents.
ConnectHome is the next element in President Obama's effort to extend broadband to all Americans and builds on his ConnectED initiative, which the administration said is on track to connect 99 percent of K-12 students to high-speed Internet in their classrooms and libraries over the next five years.
The goal of ConnectHome is to ensure that these students will be able to access high-speed Internet once they are home, to do homework and conduct research for school projects.
Although the private and public sectors have invested over $260 billion to build out new broadband networks, new analysis released today by the President's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) revealed that some Americans are still unable to benefit from high-speed broadband, especially America's lower-income children.
One of the facts that sticks out is that while nearly two-thirds of households in the lowest-income quintile own a computer, less than half have a home Internet subscription. Such a scenario creates what has been referred to as the "homework gap" where when the school day ends, a number of low-income children can't get access to do research, write papers, and communicate digitally with their teachers and other students.
President Obama is not the only public sector official calling to close the homework gap. In June, Senators Angus King (I-Maine) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.) introduced the Digital Learning Equity Act of 2015 as a way to improve broadband access and close what they call an education gap for all students.
- see this White House fact sheet
- see CenturyLink's release
- and Cox's release
AT&T will offer low-cost broadband to get DirecTV deal approved
Comcast increasing Internet Essentials speeds to 5 Mbps
Cablevision, Time Warner Cable to offer $9.95 monthly Internet access to low-income homes
CenturyLink duplicates Comcast's $9.95 monthly high-speed Internet offer