FCC: Connect 2 Compete
Even though the nation has a 9% unemployment rate, several sectors have job openings; but more than 100 million Americans don't have access to online job postings or the digital literacy skills required to be hired for them. Major corporations such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp., require that job applications be submitted online. That puts more than half of low-income families and more than half of African American and Latino families in the nation at a disadvantage because they do not have broadband access.
Students without a fast Internet are also at a disadvantage. A 2009 study in Texas found that low-income students who were given laptops to study at home tested higher in both reading and math and participated more in group projects and discussions than those who did not have online access at home. Without the Internet or a computer at home, the struggle to complete homework or learn important computer skills eventually makes it harder for students to compete in the job market.
About Connect 2 Compete
Connect to Compete is a non-profit organization created and overseen by the FCC to operate a $4 billion program to make high-speed Internet access and computers more affordable for more than 25 million low-income Americans. It is a public-private partnership - which includes over 40 major broadband and computer companies and nonprofits - that is aimed at providing qualifying residents with greater access to both online educational resources and employment opportunities while expanding consumer demand for the online marketplace. The effort should end up stimulating the economy as well.
Those who qualify would pay $9.95 a month for Internet access at 1 megabit per second and $150 for a refurbished laptop running the Windows 7 operating system, along with applications that include digital literacy training. About one-third of Americans have not yet adopted broadband at home, most of whom could be aided by this program.
It will launch on a small scale this spring in yet-to-be-determined areas and roll out nationwide in September. It is funded by private businesses such as Microsoft Corp. and Redemtech Inc. and non-profits such as the James L. Knight Foundation and CFY.
The program is scheduled to run for three years, and those who qualify within that period can take advantage of the special offers for two years. You can learn more about Connect 2 Compete by visiting its website: http://connect2compete.org/
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Those residents who are interested in applying for the Connect to Compete program must satisfy these requirements:
- have at least one student enrolled in the Free School Lunch Program;
- not be a current subscriber to broadband (or have subscribed in the last 90 days);
- and not have an overdue bill or unreturned equipment to the participating service provider
You can learn more about the Connect 2 Compete Program by clicking here.
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This interactive map shows all participating broadband providers and the areas they cover. You can visit the actual website by clicking the link above.
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