Cox Communications, one of the nation’s largest cable TV companies, working with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD), is now offering low-cost internet to any HUD-assisted household with school-age children within Cox’s 18-state service area — including Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Virginia.
This is big news. Really big news. Because it could bring low-cost home internet access to nearly 250,000 students from low-income families who would not otherwise be able to afford it.
How inexpensive? Cox’s Connect2Compete service will cost $9.95 per month for eligible families receiving HUD assistance. It includes downloads speeds up to 10 Mbps, free in-home WiFi, free installation and free access to hundreds of thousands of WiFi hotspots across the country.
Cox has been testing the ConnectHome affordable broadband program in coordination with HUD, local governments, community leaders, and nonprofit organizations in Meriden, Connecticut; Macon, Georgia; Baton Rouge, Louisiana and New Orleans, Louisiana. And now it is ready to roll it out in all 18 states in which it offers broadband service.
Cox executives and government officials gathered in Phoenix, Arizona’s Phoenix Landing Apartments to announce the project, to bask in the reflected glory offered by ConnectHome, to have their photos taken for the newspapers, and to puff themselves up for appearances on the nightly news.
Cox Communications President Pat Esser was there. “Technology and the Internet play an increasingly critical role in the education of our youth. Yet, students cannot take the Internet home in their backpacks,” he said. “We are committed to staying at the forefront of the Internet adoption movement. Through strong partnerships in the communities we serve, we will build more bridges to enable all families to cross the digital divide, regardless of where they live.”
HUD Secretary Julián Castro, never one to shy away from a television camera, felt obligated to say a few words.
“ConnectHome is expanding opportunity for our nation’s next generation of inventors, CEOs and artists,” Castro observed. “Today’s announcement will transform the lives of kids across the country, opening the door for students to live up to their full potential and not be limited in what they can achieve.”
After the executives and politicians cleared out, Cox representatives got down to work by hosting a Connect2Compete enrollment event at which residents were able to enroll in the program and schedule installation dates.
Through HUD’s ConnectHome program, low-cost broadband access, technical training, digital literacy programs, and computers are being made available to residents in HUD-assisted housing units in 28 pilot communities across the nation.
Here are a couple shocking statistics that demonstrate the importance of HUD’s ConnectHome project:
- Although nearly two-thirds of America’s lowest-income households own a computer, less than half have Internet access at home.
- 90% of college applications are now submitted online so low-income students without Internet access are frozen out of the process.
Cox has connected more than 160,000 low-income children to the internet since 2012.
More than half of low-income families who receive Cox Communications’ discounted Internet access have seen their children’s grades improve.
Cox has funded more than 75 Cox Technology Centers — places where low-income Americans can learn skills necessary to succeed in today’s high tech world — across its 18-state footprint.
Cox Business provides internet services to more than 7,400 schools and more than 4 million students.
We couldn’t be happier. Congratulations to Cox for introducing this vital project everywhere it does business. We predict that a lot of low-income Americans will never again be able to say the words “Cox Communications” without smiling.
Program Information: connect2compete.org/cox/
Press Release: hud.gov
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