It is becoming evident that for a variety of reasons, including cost, infrastructure, literacy, and attitudes, a “digital divide” is developing between those who are in a position to take advantage of technology-enabled opportunities and those who are not.
Ariel Schwartz, Senior Editor at Co.Exist:
In Austin, Google is helping to bridge that gap by offering its Google Fiber high-speed Internet service to the 4,300 people who live in public housing offered by the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA). Once a household signs on, they get 10 years of free service (and the option to upgrade to more premium services at any time).
“This is the first partnership with a major public housing provider in a big city in which residents are being offered Fiber to the home and the opportunity to sign up for that at no cost,” says Parisa Fatehi-Weeks, the community impact manager for Google Fiber Austin.
The news is part of a larger initiative, called Unlocking the Connection, that’s providing all sorts of resources for local residents who aren’t yet online. Austin Community College is, for example, donating hundreds of refurbished computers to the program, while Austin Free-Net, a nonprofit in the city, is providing digital literacy training.