President Barack Obama seems to be looking to exit his presidential term with a bang. This week, he showed serious interest in reforming the mass incarceration epidemic that has been sweeping through the country for years. Yesterday, he made a major announcement that could mean a slightly better life for residents in America’s low-income housing programs. In an effort to close the digital divide between rich and poor, the Obama administration will run a pilot program to provide internet broadband service to the occupants of public housing.
The low-income broadband program will be extended to people in 27 cities, as well as the Choctaw Tribal Nation in Durant, Oklahoma. Eight internet companies, including Google and Sprint, have signed on “to make the Internet cheaper and more accessible,” according to Reuters. Collectively, the companies have pledged to invest $70 million into this program, while the government will only be giving $50,000.
This new initiative will reportedly benefit 275,000 households which house about 200,000 children. The Choctaw Tribal Nation is working with the local companies to provide internet service to 425 homes within their nation. “While high-speed Internet access is given for millions of Americans, it’s out of reach for far too many,” said President Obama as he addressed an audience at Durant High School, with many children on hand in traditional garb.
According to Reuters:
In Atlanta, Durham, Kansas City and Nashville, Google will provide free Internet connections in some public housing areas.
In select markets, Sprint will offer free wireless broadband access to families with kids in public housing. In Seattle, CenturyLink Inc will provide broadband service for public housing residents for $9.95 a month for the first year.
Cox Communications Inc [COXC.UL] is offering home Internet for $9.95 a month to families with kids in school in four cities in Georgia, Louisiana and Connecticut.
The program also includes free training and technical support. Best Buy Co Inc will offer free training to the Choctaw Tribal Nation and in some cities, the White House said.