By Paula Ellis, VP/Strategic Initiatives
The Internet is no longer a luxury item. It’s an essential tool for all Americans, whether they are looking for jobs, better educational opportunities or quality health care.
Yet still, one-third of all Americans— 100 million people – have not adopted broadband high-speed Internet at home, the Pew Research Center has found. Simply put, they, and their families, are being left behind.
That's why today, the Federal Communications Commission in partnership with Knight and other nonprofit and business leaders, is launching Connect to Compete, which will make the Internet accessible and relevant to more Americans by reducing service costs, expanding digital literacy training and making the Internet more relevant to people's lives.
Achieving wide-scale adoption requires that the Internet be useful. That’s why this effort also focuses on developing relevant, practical ways to use the Internet for daily living. For example, a mom might use it to help her child with his homework, or her husband search or train for a job.
Knight will help guide the effort by participating on the Connect to Compete advisory council, and by providing funding for a planning grant to One Economy to create this public-private partnership. The foundation’s support is a continuation of its commitment to universal access. Since 2005, the foundation has invested more than $18 million, first in broadband infrastructure in several communities including Akron, Philadelphia, Detroit and Miami and more recently in digital literacy and adoption.