Google, ISPs offering free broadband to low-income families in the US

The U.S. government's ConnectHome program will target families with children and get 275,000 households online

This guy takes his picks seriously every year.

This guy takes his picks seriously every year.

Google and seven other ISPs have joined a new U.S. government pilot program to connect 275,000 low-income households to the Internet for free or at reduced rates.

U.S. President Barack Obama will discuss the initiative, called ConnectHome, Wednesday in Durant, Oklahoma. Durant serves as the capital of the Choctaw Tribal Nation, one of the communities taking part in the program.

In Durant, like in many parts of rural Oklahoma, the library is a town's only location with a high-speed Web connection, the state's director of libraries said in a statement.

ConnectHome will prioritize households with children and connect approximately 200,000 students to the Internet.

Google will offer its Fiber broadband service for free to certain public housing residents in Atlanta and Nashville, Tennessee. In Seattle, some people living in federally subsidized housing can connect to the Web with CenturyLink's service for US$9.95 per month for a year and for $14.95 per month for the next four years. Other ISPs, including Sprint and Cox Communications, will offer plans for free or for monthly rates of $9.95.

Some of the other cities where ConnectHome will roll out include Los Angeles, New Orleans and Baltimore.

Additional tech businesses involved with the program include code repository GitHub, which is funding technical training, and online learning site Khan Academy, which will offer free college board practice resources.

ConnectHome was announced the same day as the White House Council of Economic Advisers issued a report saying lower-income U.S. residents use the Internet less and have slower Web connections. Sixty-six percent of some of the poorest families have a computer, but lack an Internet connection, the report said.

Without Web access to complete homework, an achievement gap can form between low-income and middle-class students, the report said.

The role the U.S. government should play in providing its citizens with fast, reliable Internet access has become a popular topic in the country's political discussions.

Some politicians have called broadband access a necessity, partly because many companies only post jobs on websites and some government services can only be applied for online.

Critics, meanwhile, argue that people can live without Web access and being able to get online isn't a right.

Fred O'Connor writes about IT careers and health IT for The IDG News Service. Follow Fred on Twitter at @fredjoconnor. Fred's e-mail address is fred_o'connor@idg.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Googleinternet

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.

Fred O'Connor

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

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

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

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

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.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?