Knight Foundation Vice President/Strategic Initiatives Paula Ellis on Connect to Compete and broadband adoption
When a bold or cutting-edge idea is proposed, it is difficult to find partners who are willing to back ideas that have never been attempted. However, there are those visionary leaders who see the potential and promise of unexplored territory. The FCC has announced an unprecedented coalition of those visionary leaders who will partner for Connect to Compete, one of the biggest efforts to promote digital opportunities for disadvantaged people.
In continuing to unveil the details about Connect to Compete, the FCC today announced a $4 billion initiative from this country’s leading Internet service providers and technology companies, which will provide affordable broadband access for eligible families. Families with at least one child enrolled in the free school lunch program will be eligible to receive high-speed Internet for $9.95 a month and refurbished computers for $150 or new computers beginning at $250, with financing options to help with upfront costs.
Connect to Compete has a clear mission: to help determine ways to break down barriers to broadband opportunity and promote digital inclusion by reducing service costs and providing training to improve education, health and employment outcomes in disadvantaged communities.
The FCC’s goal is to bring the 100 million Americans online who remain unconnected. It is a bold idea and an aggressive goal, but one that is achievable thanks to the partnership and commitment of the country’s major corporations, non-profits, foundations, and government coordination at all levels.
As a key partner in this new effort, Knight Foundation has committed to help coordinate the partnership through a $150,000 planning grant to One Economy. Knight will also serve on the advisory council, helping to shape and guide our efforts.
Knight Foundation’s key role in this effort shouldn’t surprise anyone. In 2009, a blue-ribbon Knight Commission assessed the information needs of communities, determining that affordable broadband access and digital literacy are vital to ensuring healthy, democratic communities into the future. In many ways, the findings of the Knight Commission would lay the foundation for the FCC’s leadership in building a digital inclusive society.
One Economy looks forward to working with this historic collaboration and turning a bold idea into this country’s prosperous future.