Here comes the cheap internet program for which America’s needy have been waiting. And waiting. And waiting.
We’ve been eagerly awaiting Connect2Compete’s national roll-out since the organization first announced in mid-2012 that the roll-out would happen in “early 2013”. Apparently we were a bit too aggressive because we assumed that meant January 1. But truth be told, we can’t complain that the national roll-out will begin in the first quarter of 2013.
After successfully completing a series of test programs around the country, Connect2Compete will launch nationally on March 21 in order to bring inexpensive digital opportunities to all low-income Americans.
The program offers low-income families high-speed internet access for just $9.95 per month plus other benefits such as refurbished laptops and desktop computers for just $150, and free internet training.
It’s easy to qualify for all these benefits, too. You qualify if you meet these three simple standards: Your family must have at least one student enrolled in the Free School Lunch Program, not be a current subscriber to broadband (or not have subscribed in the last 90 days, and not have had an overdue bill or unreturned equipment to one of the participating internet providers.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Zach Leverenz, Connect2Compete’s chief executive officer, said Tuesday that he hoped to have one million families enrolled in the discounted Internet service in its first year.”
Connect2Compete’s mission statement says it “will help Americans access technology through three exciting offers: free digital literacy training, discounted high-speed Internet, and low-cost computers. To promote the work, Connect2Compete will create a national outreach campaign focused on the importance of technology to develop digital skills and find new opportunities.”
Connect2Compete counts some heavy hitters among its supporters. It’s a consortium of public, private and non-profit groups including Comcast, Cox Cable, Time Warner Cable, MicroSoft, Best Buy, Intel, CitiBank the Urban League, United Way, and many others.