Some of the nation’s poorest children are getting some high-speed help from some of the nation’s wealthiest companies, NBC News's Brian Mooar reported.
It is part of a new initiative called Connect to Compete. A team of private companies like Microsoft and Comcast have joined non-profits and the Federal Communication Commission in an effort to offer high speed Internet for about $9.95 a month -- a fifth of the national average.
The head of the FCC said it’s not just about helping poor children, but also making them competitive.
“Whether we're talking about jobs, education or health care this day and age getting on-line is necessity not a convenience,” FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said today. You can see her remarks here.
The program will be open to families with at least one child in the national school lunch program, and the FCC said taxpayers won’t have to foot any of the costs for Connect to Compete. Many of the companies involved see the initiative as an investment.
“This is our opportunity as an industry to double down and make a bet on the future of our kids,” said Pat Esser, president of Cox Communications.
The FCC said the price of high-speed Internet access has kept about 150 million people from buying the service. Cable providers including Comcast, NBC’s parent company, have agreed to slash their monthly subscription fees. Other companies have also found ways to get behind the initiative. Microsoft said it’s working on a low-cost computer that would retail for about $250.
Connect to Compete is expected to launch a pilot program beginning in the spring of 2012.