- On Wednesday, President Obama announced the launch of ConnectHome, an initiative to expand home broadband access for low-income families.
- The program will start in 27 cities, including Atlanta and Nashville, as well as the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma. It is expected to initially reach more than 275,000 households.
- It’s a collaboration between the federal government, local communities, and eight private Internet providers, including Google Fiber, CenturyLink, and Sprint, as well as other partners.
ConnectHome is intended to build on the work of ConnectEd, which expanded broadband access in schools. The PEW Research Center found that 5 million households with school-aged children do not have broadband access, compared to 28 million similar households nationwide. The president’s program is intended to help close that gap and will initially reach the homes of 200,000 K-12 students.
The move is particularly worth noting when considering what FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel described to Education Dive as "the homework gap." In an interview ahead of last month's ISTE conference, she told Education Dive, “You have a community of students who are having a hard time getting their homework done without connectivity at home.” She said that most educators she talked to said home Internet access was important for student learning.
The program will also go beyond broadband access to provide digital literacy training, technical training, and even devices to students and assisted living facility residents.