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Bridging The Digital Divide

November 2, 2017

As this blog reported last month, due to a more than $1.5 trillion investment over the last 20 years by the private sector, 285 million Americans now have access to broadband. Private Internet Service Providers (ISPs) aren’t just building infrastructure, however. For millions of low-income Americans, they’re also supplying the tools and education they’ll need to go online and to succeed in the workforce. For example: 

·      Sprint and the Sprint Foundation gave more than 5,000 freshmen at Phoenix, Ariz.’s Union High School free smartphones, tablets, and Wi-Fi hotspots. The effort is part of a program to give devices to more than one million low-income students to help “close the digital divide.”

·      Sprint also gave free tablets to high school students in Richmond, Va. and gave 2,800 students in Milwaukee, Wis. free wireless service and devices.

·      AT&T has donated $750,000 to help at-risk and homeless students in Alaska graduate from high school. The company also recently donated $100,000 to the American Indian College Fund.

·      Verizon has provided tablets to students in five middle schools in Irving, Texas. The tablets came with free 4G LTE service to the 5,000 students in these schools and their 490 teachers.

·      Comcast will donate $250,000 to three public libraries in Chicago to help them “support ‘Experience Labs’ that feature YOUmedia digital labs for teens, CyberNavigator digital skills tutoring for adults and Maker Lab programming.”

·      FairPoint Communications has awarded $50,000 to nonprofit organizations in Maine to help close the digital divide.

·      Bel Air Internet is helping students in Los Angeles go online. The company “in the process of donating high-speed Internet to several more community centers in need, with a goal of lighting up Internet for 5000 underserved Los Angeles children by the end of year.”