Bringing Internet access to public housing residents
The web is where we go to connect with people, learn new subjects, and find opportunities for personal and economic growth. But not everyone benefits from all the web has to offer. As many as 26% of households earning less than $30,000 per year don’t access the Internet, compared to just 3% of adults with annual incomes over $75,000. Google Fiber is working to change that. Today, in all of our Google Fiber markets, we’re launching a program to connect residents in select public and affordable housing properties for $0/month with no installation fee.
This initiative is part of ConnectHome, a bold new program launched by the White House and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that aims to bring Internet connectivity to more school-aged children and families living in HUD-assisted housing in 28 communities across the country. We’re proud to partner with HUD to connect families in four of the communities they’ve selected—Atlanta, Durham, Nashville and Kansas City. We’ll also extend the program to every other current and future Google Fiber market.
We realize, though, that providing an Internet connection is just one piece of the puzzle. People can only take advantage of the many benefits of the web when they understand why it matters and know how to use it. That’s why we’ll also partner with ConnectHome and local community groups to develop basic computer skills training and create computer labs to host these trainings in each of our Fiber markets.
This program was inspired by our work with the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) on their Unlocking the Connection initiative. Through the initiative, HACA has led collaborations with Google Fiber, EveryoneOn.org, and local community groups such as Austin Free-Net and Austin Community College to help residents of HACA communities sign up for $0/month Internet connection, enroll in digital literacy classes and access computers—all at no cost.
HACA residents have embraced this program. At Manchaca Village, the first public housing property we engaged, over 90% of residents signed up for service, and more than half of the residents completed digital literacy training. With support from local organizations and city leaders, we hope to see this same kind of success across the country.
Posted by Erica Swanson, Head of Community Impact, Google Fiber
Updated 8:00am PDT to clarify Unlocking the Connections program