In a move that should help more low income families cross the digital divide, Cox Communications will be taking its participation in the Connect2Compete program to the national level by offering its Starter Internet Service for only $9.95 a month to qualifying families in its service areas.
To qualify, a household must be located within Cox’s service area and must have children that qualify for the National Free School Lunch Program. The service will cost $9.95 a month for 2 years, which includes free installation and a waiver from modem rental charges. Cox also provides los cost computers and free digital literacy training, so families can safely navigate the Internet.
Cox began offering its program to eligible households in San Diego, CA in April of last year. Later in the same year, the program was expanded to include Providence, RI; Oklahoma City, OK; Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Lafayette, LA; and Macon, GA.
Cox Communications President Pat Esser released a statement, saying: “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.”
Connect2Compete is a program that was launched by the Federal Communications Commission, which is aimed at bridging the digital divide between the Internet haves and the have-nots. One other participant in the Connect2Compete program is Comcast, the nation’s largest cable provider and owner of broadcast network NBC Universal.
Hopefully, more triple play providers and ISPs will join the Connect2Compete initiative. In many ways, broadband Internet access is a necessity in today’s world—especially for underprivileged members of society who want to better their employment and economic opportunities. Even though it’s a slow start, the program has been a success for the needy households it has managed to reach.