This year marks a turning point for low-income families in terms of being able to access the internet readily in their own homes. ConnectHome is a brand new initiative announced by the White House recently that was developed by The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Obama Administration, which aims to deliver high-speed broadband to more families all over the U.S.
Over $260 billion was invested into a new broadband infrastructure since President Obama took office. Today, three in four Americans are now enjoying broadband at home while 4G wireless broadband is now available to more than 98% of Americans.
Initially, ConnectHome will launch a pilot program among 27 cities as well as one Native American tribal nation. These include communities in Albany, GA; Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Baton Rouge, LA; Boston, MA; Camden, NJ; Choctaw Nation, OK; Cleveland, OH; Denver, CO; Durham, NC; Fresno, CA; Kansas City, MO; Little Rock, AR; Los Angeles, CA; Macon, GA; Memphis, TN; Meriden, CT; Nashville, TN; New Orleans, LA; New York, NY; Newark, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; Rockford, IL; San Antonio, TX; Seattle, WA; Springfield, MA; Tampa, FL; and Washington, DC.
Moreover, the pilot program will deliver internet service to more than 275,000 low-income households, which are home to almost 200,000 children.
Furthermore, ConnectHome represents “the next step,” following the President’s ConnectED initiative which aims to ensure that 99% of K-12 student in the US will have access to high-speed internet in the classroom and libraries over the next five years.
As of the moment, the ConnectED initiative reports that “fewer than 40% of America’s schools have the broadband they need to teach using today’s modern technology.”
ConnectHome also represents a partnership with EveryoneOn and US Ignite, who are working with both public and private sector leaders in order to increase internet access for low-income households. Also making ConnectHome possible is a group of eight internet providers – Google Fiber, Cherokee Communications, Pine Telephone, Suddenlink Communications, Vyve Broadband, CenturyLink , Cox Communications and Sprint.
Google Fiber will offer free monthly internet service to residents in public housing located in their markets such as Atlanta, Kansas City, Nashville and Durham.
Meanwhile, certain communities in the Choctaw Tribal Nation will have low-cost, high speed internet, courtesy of Cherokee Communications, Pine Telephone, Suddenlink Communications and Vyve Broadband.
At the same time, CenturyLink will offer its Internet Basics Program to HUD households in Seattle and across its coverage footprint for $9.95 a month for the first year and $14.95 a month for the next four years.
Cox Communications will also be offering a $9.95 a month plan to eligible K12 households in living in public housing authorities in Macon, Meriden, Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Sprint will also be providing free wireless broadband internet access to eligible K-12 students in public housing, adding to free mobile broadband service already provided by AT&T and Verizon in line with the ConnectED program.
There are also companies committed to provide training, support devices, learning curriculum and even SAT practice resources to ConnectHome. These include GitHub, College Board (in partnership with Khan Academy), 80/20 Foundation, Age of Learning, Inc., Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Best Buy, James M. Cox Foundation, American Library Association, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Southeastern Oklahoma State University and Durant Independent School District.