By John Ballard
The Federal Communications Commission and cable and computer firms will announce Wednesday a program to provide low-income homes with $10 monthly broadband Internet service and $150 computers.
The plan aims to solve one of the more vexing problems in the government�s quest to connect all Americans to the Internet: Even when people have the ability to subscribe to high-speed service, 100 million households don�t choose to do so.
Experts say that�s largely because of cost. The price of high-speed Internet averages $40 a month, and computers can cost several hundred dollars.
But beginning in the spring, cable Internet service providers such as Bright House, Comcast, Cox and Time Warner will offer families that are eligible for federal school-lunch programs � 25 million Americans � the discounted monthly service. The service will include free installation and modem rental for two years.
Redemtech, a computer refurbishing firm, will offer those families laptops or desktops for $150, with free home shipping and 90 days of tech support. Microsoft will provide new computers for eligible school-lunch families for $250.
The plan is part of the FCC�s drive to get all Americans onto high-speed Internet networks. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has warned that other countries are surpassing the United States in broadband Internet adoption � a trend that could hurt the economy in the long run.
Washington Post article.
More at the link.
Scanning the comments I see many negative responses, some complaining about more government handouts to others resentful of illegal aliens with anchor babies. It seems the mean-spirited generic selfishness encouraged by the Tea Party wing of the GOP is growing from sparks to open flames.
That trend makes me both sad and ashamed as a citizen. There was a time in the life of my family when our income was so low that our children qualified for both breakfast and reduced price lunches at school. For the youngest it was a treat but for the one in middle school it was embarrassing. For their mother and I it was a welcome blessing. When I read resentful comments about a program like this I want to confront the selfishness and call it for what it is -- blind, cold-blooded meanness.
Internet access is available in much of the world as a public utility, much like health care. Oh, wait. I forgot. We don't do stuff like that in America.