November 18, 2011
NCSL Applauds Public Private Partnership That Brings Low-Cost Broadband to Underprivileged Students
Broadband Internet is becoming an essential component of a high quality education. Unfortunately, millions of students don’t have broadband in their homes. The National Cable & Telecommunications Association, under the auspices of the FCC, has created an initiative to promote broadband for underprivileged students. For $9.95 a month, the “Connect to Compete” (C2C) program will extend high-speed Internet to households with at least one child who receives free lunch under the National School Lunch Program. C2C is expected to be in place for the 2012 school year.
NCSL supports the C2C initiative to provide broadband Internet to millions of needy students. The program is consistent with NCSL’s policy, as adopted by the Communications, Financial Services & Interstate Commerce Committee, of supporting private-public partnerships that develop robust broadband awareness, adoption, and use programs. As noted in NCSL’s policy, consumers have cited the expense and the lack of a computer and digital skills as reasons for not adopting broadband. The C2C partnership addresses all of these factors by providing discounted computers, lo-cost broadband access, and digital literacy training to eligible families.
With an estimated 10 million eligible students living in about 5.5 million homes, there is a great need for broadband adoption. In an increasingly digital world, without broadband access, millions of American children will lack the tools and skills necessary to compete in the global economy. The efforts by C2C organizers are addressing these needs and helping ameliorate the problem.
NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.