President Barack Obama is traveling to Durant, Okla., on Wednesday to officially announce a new initiative geared to bringing high-speed broadband to more families across the nation.
The ConnectHome pilot program—set to launch in 27 cities and one tribal nation—is expected to reach more than 275,000 low-income households and almost 200,000 children, giving them the support they need to access the Internet from the comfort of their own homes.
According to the White House, Internet service providers, nonprofits and the private sector have all chipped in to offer broadband access, technical training, digital literacy programs and devices for the residents in “assisted housing units.”
“The stakes are clear: Families living in the 21st century need 21st-century tools to thrive,” Julián Castro, the secretary of housing and urban development, told reports on Wednesday, according to The Hill.
The White House notes that the president hopes that ConnectHome will help close the “homework gap” and provide more Americans with digital access and opportunity. The president’s Council of Economic Advisers released a new analysis Wednesday showing that some Americans, particularly those living in low-income households, still do not have the benefit of being able to access high-speed broadband.
“While many middle-class U.S. students go home to Internet access, allowing them to do research, write papers, and communicate digitally with their teachers and other students, too many lower-income children go unplugged every afternoon when school ends,” the White House noted in its press release. “This ‘homework gap’ runs the risk of widening the achievement gap, denying hardworking students the benefit of a technology-enriched education.”
Cities picked to participate in ConnectHome include Atlanta; Baton Rouge, La.; Macon, Ga.; Memphis, Tenn.; New York City; Newark, N.J.; and Washington, D.C. The Choctaw Nation was also selected.