HUD and Comcast to Expand Broadband Access to Low-Income HUD Tenants
HUD and Comcast recently announced an initiative to provide broadband access to families living in HUD-assisted housing in 40 states across the nation. The effort scales up ConnectHome, a demonstration program hosted by HUD and Comcast that provides children and families living in HUD-assisted housing with high-speed Internet service, the opportunity to purchase a discounted computer, and digital literacy courses. Between 2011 and 2015, the pilot program connected more than 600,000 low-income families to the Internet. Expanded efforts now seek to extend broadband access to more of the 11 million American families who don’t have it.
Including homes covered by Comcast’s pilot public housing expansion announced in March, an estimated total of up to 2 million HUD-assisted homes, including Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher, and Multifamily programs, will now have access to low-cost Internet service.
Between 2009 and 2014, broadband service providers spent over $422 billion on capital investments, and three in four American households now use broadband at home. Despite this significant progress, one in four American households still don’t access the Internet at home, particularly lower-income families with children. According to the 2013 American Community Survey, less than 43 percent of individuals without a high school diploma or equivalent lack home Internet access, but under this initiative adults and young learners can get connected from the comfort of their own homes and take advantage of resources to get a GED, apply for and complete college, and acquire the necessary digital literacy skills to thrive in a highly competitive, global work force.