Today, President Obama and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Castro announced an initiative to extend high speed broadband access for students in HUD-assisted housing. Called ConnectHome, this initiative will provide broadband, technical training, digital literacy programs, and devices for residents in assisted housing in 28 communities across the country.
At the same time, the President’s Council of Economic Advisors released a study revealing the gap in Internet adoption between lower-income Americans and others. The CEA found that less than half of the American households with the lowest incomes have a home Internet subscription, compared to 80-90 percent of the most affluent.
The following can be attributed to Kristine DeBry, a Vice President at Public Knowledge:
“President Obama’s ConnectHome announcement is another step in the right direction to extend broadband to low-income Americans, as the CEA report clearly indicates an access gap. In addition, the CEA statistics are another piece of evidence for the need to increase broadband availability by updating the FCC’s Lifeline program to help low-income subscribers lower the cost of broadband.
“The CEA report shows several interrelated components to the digital divide. In addition to the income divide, there are lower levels of adoption and lower Internet speeds in rural areas, and there is a relationship between higher levels of carrier competition and higher adoption in rural areas.
“Closing the digital divide will require addressing all these factors by increasing low-income support, increasing competition, providing opportunities for municipal broadband, and maintaining strong antitrust and FCC enforcement when internet service providers and carriers seek to merge.
“Public Knowledge applauds President Obama and HUD Secretary Castro for their leadership in bringing broadband access to more American families as we all work to bridge the digital divide.”
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