“We are going to take another steps to close the digital divide in America”
President Barack Obama announced plans on Wednesday to expand high-speed Internet to more low income families across the U.S.
“Today, I want to foucs on one way and we can prepare our kids and workers for an increasingly competitive world,” Obama said in an address to the Choctaw nation in Durant, Okla., about the new initiative, called ConnectHome. Obama said “digital divide” puts these individuals at a disadvantage by limiting their educational and economic opportunities because the Internet is increasingly needed to find a job, finish homework or keep in touch with family and friends.
ConnectHome is an offshoot of ConnectED, a program the obama administration launched to get 99% of American students in K- 12 classrooms and libraries with high-speed Internet by the end of 2017.
ConnectHome will begin in 27 cities and the Choctaw Nations of Oklahoma, which is head quartered in Durant. With about 200,000 members spread across much of southeastern Oklahoma, the Choctaw Nation is the nation’s third-largest Native American tribe.
The internet is not luxury, it’s a necessity, Obama said noting that the people who “could benefit the most from the latest technology are the least likely to have it.”
The only federal money expected to be spent on ConnectHome is a $50,000 Agriculture Department grant to the Choctaw Nation, officials said.
The 27 cities the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development selected for ConnectHome are: Albany, Georgia; Atlanta; Baltimore; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Boston; Camden, New Jersey; Cleveland; Denver; Durham, North Carolina; Fresno, California; Kansas City, Missouri; Little Rock, Arkansas; Los Angeles; Macon, Georgia; Memphis, Tennessee; Meriden, Connecticut; Nashville, Tennessee; New Orleans; New York; Newark, New Jersey; Philadelphia; Rockford, Illinois; San Antonio; Seattle; Springfield, Massachusetts; Tampa, Florida; and the District of Columbia
Obama was spending the night in Oklhoma and on Thursday continuing a weeklong focus on making the criminal justice system fairer.
He planned to meet Thursday with law enforcement officials and inmates during a historic tour of the EI Reno Federal Correctional Institution, a medium-security facility west of Oklahoma City that holds about 1,300 male offenders. “I will be the first sitting president to visit a federal prison,” Obama said in a speech Tuesday to the NAACP meeting in Philadelphia.