WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Building on the momentum of the National Broadband Plan delivered to Congress by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and its call for public-private partnerships to improve broadband adoption, an unprecedented group of Internet service providers (ISPs), computer technology companies, and nonprofits, announced today a collaboration to help bring broadband services to low-income homes throughout the U.S.
The Digital Adoption Coalition includes AT&T, BendBroadband, Bresnan Communications, Bright House Networks, Cablevision Systems Corp., Charter Communications, Comcast, Cox Communications, Connected Nation, Eagle Communications, Inc., Dell, Intel Corporation, Mediacom Communications Corp., Microsoft, Midcontinent Communications, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), One Economy Corporation, Sjoberg’s Cable TV, Suddenlink Communications, Time Warner Cable, US Cable Group, and USTelecom.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, 35 percent of American households do not have broadband at home, and low adoption rates are primarily found in low-income communities. The FCC National Broadband Plan highlighted the importance of creating “public-private partnerships of hardware manufacturers, software companies, broadband service providers, and digital literacy training partners to improve broadband adoption and utilization by working with federal agencies already serving non-adopting communities.”
To address the key principles of broadband adoption outlined in the National Broadband Plan, the Digital Adoption Coalition’s comprehensive approach, proposed in an application to the federal government for broadband stimulus funding, will overcome multiple barriers to broadband adoption in underserved communities. Each partner intends to provide concrete solutions to facilitate sustained broadband adoption: awareness of the benefits of broadband services, digital literacy training, affordable computers and access, and relevant online tools and resources. The coalition believes that each of these solutions is critical and interdependent in fostering broadband adoption among families that currently face barriers in this regard.
“Solving this country’s broadband adoption gap will depend on the participation and commitment of the government, nonprofits, corporations, and the public. This unique partnership reflects that collaborative spirit,” said Moustasfa Mourad, Interim President, One Economy Corporation. “One Economy has worked for the past decade to bring affordable access, digital literacy training and relevant online content to low-income households, often targeting HUD communities. Collectively, this coalition brings a breadth of resources that can have a significant impact on empowering low-income residents through the power of 21st century technology.”
To improve broadband access, services, and technology in approximately 250,000 low-income households nationwide, the coalition would work with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to increase broadband outreach efforts in public housing, project-based Section 8 properties, and multi-family assisted communities. One Economy, a global nonprofit, filed an application with NTIA on March 15 on behalf of the coalition for funding through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) to support digital literacy training, discounted computers, and project administration.
“Intel works with governments, community organizations, and technology leaders to enhance lives by accelerating access to uncompromised technology by everyone, everywhere,” said C.J. Bruno, Vice President, Sales and Marketing Group and President, Intel Americas, Inc. “We are proud to be part of this initiative to offer HUD residents affordable Internet access and PC ownership, bolstered by hands-on training. Intel believes that consumer focused initiatives like this are critical to achieving the FCC’s goal of 90 percent home broadband adoption by 2020.”
“AT&T is proud to be part of such a strong group of companies and nonprofit organizations committed to improving the lives of millions of Americans through the adoption of broadband,” said Robert Quinn, AT&T Senior Vice President, Federal Regulatory. “It is critical that the public and private sectors work together to ensure that all communities have access to advanced technologies and services.”
“Connected Nation works locally to help individuals realize the transformative power of broadband. America’s low-income communities are struggling to keep pace. Connected Nation is proud to join this group of national leaders to address broadband barriers among some of America’s poorest communities,” said Brian R. Mefford, Connected Nation’s Chief Executive Officer.
“Under this program, if approved by the federal government, cable companies serving communities comprising more than 85 percent of American households would provide qualifying HUD families in their service area with significant discounts on cable’s broadband internet service,” said James Assey, Executive Vice President, NCTA. “We’re thankful to One Economy and the other partners in this application for the opportunity to participate in finding ways to overcome barriers to adoption among many American families who are most in need of the benefits of broadband.”
“This program represents a unique opportunity to help close the digital gap in low-income communities by bringing computers, broadband service, and training into these areas. Dell is pleased to be associated with it, and we thank One Economy, Connected Nation and our partners for their commitment to the program,” said Becca Gould, Vice President of Dell Government Affairs.
“Microsoft is committed to partnering with government, businesses, and community organizations to advance social and economic opportunities for every citizen in our country. Given our economic environment, this partnership will provide the training, access, and technology that will make a lasting difference in people’s lives and enable greater opportunities for growth in communities large and small across our country,” said Curt Kolcun, Vice President, Microsoft U.S. Public Sector.
“The partnership is another step forward in our efforts to help America become the most connected nation on Earth,” said David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President, Comcast.
“Time Warner Cable recognizes the positive impact that broadband Internet access can have on individuals and communities alike, and we are proud to work with this coalition to ensure that broadband is not only affordable, but that there is also an education component, which will help maximize its positive benefits,” said Peter Stern, Chief Strategy Officer, Time Warner Cable.
“USTelecom is pleased to be a member of this important public-private partnership focused on bringing broadband to low-income households in America. Increasing access to broadband can help families become more connected with their communities, and tap into resources that can lead to better education, healthcare, and employment possibilities,” said Walter B. McCormick Jr., President and CEO of USTelecom.
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