Connect2Compete Announces Digital Opportunity Campaign in Bibb County Schools

Knight Foundation, Cox, Redemtech partner with national non-profit to bring reduced-cost Internet, affordable computers and digital training to local families

MACON, GA – Connect2Compete (C2C), a public-private initiative launched last year to narrow the digital divide, has announced that families of students in 23 Bibb County Schools will have access to reduced-cost Internet service, affordable computers, and free digital literacy training during a pilot program this fall.

“Once considered a luxury, owning a computer and an Internet connection has become absolutely essential to getting a job, succeeding in school, and participating in today’s society,” said C2C CEO Zach Leverenz. “When citizens have access to technology and training, incredible transformation can occur in their lives and in our economy.  This partnership involving C2C, Cox Communications, Redemtech, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Bibb County School District and others will help low-income families and children gain the equipment and essential digital literacy skills that will have a transformative impact,” he said.

In support of the C2C initiative, Cox is offering high-speed Internet service for $9.95 per month.  The pricing is good for two years and includes no installation, activation, or modem fees.

Eligible families will also have an opportunity to purchase computers for $150 through GoodPC, a Redemtech company.  A leading provider of information technology asset disposition services, Redemtech fully refurbishes used computers, complete with genuine Microsoft software, warranty, technical support and free shipping to all eligible families. 

Related Link

"Macon embraces digital opportunity campaign" by Beverly Blake on Knight Blog

To be eligible, families must have a student enrolled in the National Free School Lunch Program and, for the broadband offer, must not be currently subscribed to a broadband service. The local and online digital literacy services, however, will be publicly available for free at Connect2Compete.org where visitors can find an array of online content or be connected with in-person services in the community. 

"Cox has a long history of supporting broadband adoption programs across the country, and doing so in a way that connects the most vulnerable members of our society - our children - so they can compete and have a greater chance of success in the digital world that awaits them" says Lynn Murphey, Vice President, Public Relations for Cox Florida/Georgia.

Knight Foundation, which announced a $3 million grant to support C2C’s work across the country over three years, is an engaged partner in C2C’s Macon-area roll-out.  The foundation, which supports projects that help communities be more informed and engaged, has long been committed to promoting digital access and opportunity, eliminating the digital divide and creating opportunities for all Americans using technology.

“With access to affordable Internet, home computers and the learning opportunities to connect technology for positive educational results, families in Bibb County can fully participate in the 21st Century economy. Knight Foundation is honored to work with Connect2Compete, Cox Communications and the Bibb County Public Schools on this pilot project. We look forward to seeing how, together, we can ensure our nation’s families are fully integrated into the digital age,” said Beverly Blake, Macon Program Director for Knight Foundation.  

Bibb County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Romain Dallemand says the partnership could benefit hundreds of children in the District.

“I am delighted with the Connect2Compete initiative because it helps make online learning a more affordable option for many families here in Bibb County,” said Dr. Dallemand. “It is exactly the type of opportunity I envisioned as we were developing our strategic plan, ‘The Macon Miracle,’ because a student who does not have a quality computer and reliable Internet access at home, is at a distinct disadvantage when compared to their peers. This initiative offers inexpensive ways to tear down those barriers.”

The Bibb County initiative is part of a national pilot program C2C is launching this fall in nearly 1,000 schools in 22 states across the country. C2C will roll out nationally in 2013.

The pilot follows a small prototype program involving Cox and Redemtech this summer in the San Diego area.  During the two-month promotion more than 1,400 families took advantage of C2C’s Internet or computer offers.

About Connect2Compete:

C2C is a national nonprofit organization designed to help narrow the digital divide by making high-speed Internet access, computers, education and jobs content, and digital literacy training more accessible for Americans without home connectivity. Founded less than a year ago, C2C includes more than 40 non-profit and private sector partners, including the nation’s largest cable Internet companies. Additional partners include Best Buy, Discovery, LULAC, the National Urban League, Intel, Institute for Museum and Library Services, Microsoft, Sunesys, CFY, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America among others. Learn more at Connect2Compete.org.

About Cox Communications:

Cox Communications is a broadband communications and entertainment company, providing advanced digital video, Internet and telephone services over its own nationwide IP network. The third-largest U.S. cable TV company, Cox serves approximately 6 million residences and businesses. Cox Business is a facilities-based provider of voice, video and data solutions for commercial customers, and Cox Media is a full-service provider of national and local cable spot and new media advertising. 

Cox is known for its pioneering efforts in cable telephone and commercial services, industry-leading customer care and its outstanding workplaces. For seven years, Cox has been recognized as the top operator for women by Women in Cable Telecommunications; Cox has ranked among DiversityInc's Top 50 Companies for Diversity seven times, including the last six years. More information about Cox Communications, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, is available at www.cox.com and www.coxmedia.com.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation:

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit KnightFoundation.org.

Contacts:

Rob Vernon, Connect2Compete, 202-585-2631, rvernon@golinharris.com

Beverly Blake, Knight Foundation Macon Program Director, 478.442.1335blake@knightfoundation.org

Lynn Murphey, Cox Communications, 478-784-5106, lynn.murphey@cox.com

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.