Google Fiber High-Speed Internet Coming to Public Housing, for Free – TIME

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Speaking at the West Bluff public housing complex in Kansas City, Missouri, Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro announced the first of what will eventually be hundreds of thousands of apartments nationwide with free high-speed Internet.

“For far too many low-income families, and especially for low-income children, connecting to the Web remains just an aspiration,” he said. “We’re helping to change that through ConnectHome.”

The ConnectHome program aims to close the “digital divide” by bringing high-speed Internet to lower income communities across the United States. It is estimated that a quarter of Americans with annual household income below $30,000 lack Internet connections, whereas 98% of households with incomes above $75,000 are connected. One study, released this week, revealed that most low-income Americans have some Internet access, but it is far more likely than average to be poor quality, and for service to be disrupted.

Other local partners are providing PCs to Kansas City public housing residents for $55 apiece.

The 100 apartments offered free super high-speed broadband are the first group of 1,300 families in subsidized housing in Kansas City, and 275,000 around the country, who will get access to Google Fiber at no cost or a reduced price through the federal ConnectHome program, reports the Kansas City Star.

Read next: The Surprising Best Thing About Google Fiber Coming to Your Town

Over the next six months, Google Fiber will expand free or subsidized Internet access to four more area public housing complexes and eventually to public housing residents in all cities where the service is available. At present, Google Fiber is available in Provo, Utah, and Austin, Texas, with expansion planned in Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Nashville, Atlanta, Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, with more cities as yet undetermined.

Google Fiber provides Internet speeds of up to 1,000 mbps. For comparison, that’s dozens of times faster than the average download speeds for carriers on the 4G LTE network.

“The Internet is no longer a luxury,” Castro said in his announcement, “but something everyone needs to succeed.”

[Kansas City Star]

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