There are about 4.49 billion web pages on the Internet — but one in four people in the United States can’t access a single one at home. Worse, less than half of the poorest households in the U.S. have home internet access, according to a new report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
Fortunately, President Obama has a plan to change that.
“The Internet is not a luxury,” said Obama during his announcement of his new program. “It is a necessity.”
The mission of the White House’s new ConnectHome initiative is to give every child “the same opportunity to build a brighter future and to achieve their dream” by connecting their homes to the web, so that they can access the necessary information to get ahead in school and career life.
The ConnectHome initiative will launch in 27 cities and one tribal area, and will initially provide 275,000 low-income households and nearly 200,000 children with Internet access. It will involve city officials, eight Internet providers, at least one university, and even Best Buy, which will provide residents in some cities with computer training.
“While many middle-class US students go home to Internet access, allowing them to do research, write papers, and communicate digitally with their teachers and other students, too many lower-income children go unplugged every afternoon when school ends,” said a statement from the White House. “This “homework gap” runs the risk of widening the achievement gap, denying hardworking students the benefit of a technology-enriched education.”
Google is also pitching into the initiative. The monolithic tech company is offering free home Internet access to public housing residents in its 12 Google Fiber markets. In areas where there isn’t Google Fiber, but are part of the pilot program, such as New Orleans, heavily discounted broadband hookups are available for about $10 a month.