White House: Free Google Fiber For Some Atlanta Residents | WABE 90.1 FM

White House: Free Google Fiber For Some Atlanta Residents

Jul 15, 2015

White House officials announced a program Wednesday that aims to connect 275,000 low-income families in the U.S. with in-home Internet service. But the service isn't going to be available anytime soon in Atlanta.

Less than half of the poorest American households have a home Internet subscription, and they face great barriers when trying to lift themselves up because of it. ─ Julian Castro

The $70 million pilot program, called ConnectHome, is funded mostly through private Internet providers and foundations. 

In Atlanta, the provider is Google, and construction has begun, but Google won't say when its new fiber service will be available. 

In 2013, President Barack Obama launched ConnectED, which aims to provide high-speed Internet access in 99 percent of all schools and libraries in the United States by 2018. 

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro says ConnectHome is an effort to make sure students have access to high-speed Internet when they go home too. 

Castro explained the need for the program during a White House news conference call. 

"Less than half of the poorest American households have a home Internet subscription, and they face great barriers when trying to lift themselves up because of it," Castro says. "For example, over 90 percent of college applications are now submitted online, and more than 80 percent of job openings with Fortune 500 companies are posted on the Web."

In Atlanta, families will have access to free digital classes, online SAT prep and technical training through Google, College Board, Khan Academy, the American Library Association and the Best Buy Teen Tech Center in Atlanta.