The Federal Communications Commission has announced a new program that will provide low-cost broadband Internet connections and low-cost computers to qualifying students and families beginning in 2012.
The “Connect to Compete” effort will provide discounted broadband Internet connections at $9.95 per month, refurbished laptop or desktop computers at $150, and free digital literacy training. The discounts and training will be available specifically to families eligible for the National School Lunch Program.
In addition to the discounts, Microsoft will be working with its hardware partners to develop and introduce a series of affordable, high-quality education computers starting at $250 that will include Windows and Office software. The Morgan Stanley financial services firm will be developing a microcredit program to help families afford the upfront cost of a computer.
The “Connect to Compete” offers will be available in 10 to 12 pilot cities in the spring of 2012 and will be available nationwide by September 2012.