FCC kicks off computer donation program to help low-income people

US organizations are encouraged to donate computers for redistribution by Connect2Compete

A Federal Communications Commission-led initiative has launched a program that will allow U.S. organizations to donate used computers to low-income people.

"The costs of digital exclusion are rising," said Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski at a press briefing in Washington, D.C., referring to how low- income people suffer from not being connected to the Internet. "Broadband is our central platform in the 21st century for economic growth, information and opportunity."

The nonprofit organization Connect2Compete (C2C) will redistribute the computers to the poor so they can be used to access the Internet and develop basic digital literacy skills.

Genachowski pointed to the ways that low-income individuals miss opportunities by not being connected. Many jobs -- including the many engineering positions U.S. companies now have difficulty filling -- require computer savvy. Even finding a job requires a computer. "Job postings are almost exclusively online now," Genachowski said, noting that 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies do all of their job postings online.

The cost of a computer prohibits many low-income people from accessing the Internet, according to the FCC. About 36 percent of Americans who do not have Internet access cite the prohibitive costs of purchasing a new computer as the reason for not being online. Overall, about 100 million Americans do not have broadband access, according the government agency.

To get computers, C2C is asking for donations from U.S. organizations, which discard 17 million computers each year, according to Gartner Research. While such computers may be out of date for corporate use, they still can be used for basic computing and Internet connectivity, Genachowski said.

Computing recycling company Redemtech will refurbish the donated computers. In its program, called the PC Pledge 100, Redemtech will accept donations of used computers from organizations. A donated computer should have an Intel Core 2 Duo processor or equivalent, at least 2GB RAM and an 80GB hard drive. It should also have a DVD player, a wireless Internet card and Ethernet connectivity.

During processing, Redemtech will delete the contents on the computer, and install Microsoft Windows 7 and a number of office productivity programs. Microsoft is supplying the software at a reduced price.

Started in 2011 by the FCC, the C2C is a public-private coalition to broadband access and low-cost computers to low-income individuals in the U.S. The organization, with the Ad Council, will kick off a multilingual ad campaign in early 2013, to promote digital literacy.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?