|HUD No. 16-013
George I. Gonzalez
February 3, 2016
HUD SECRETARY CASTRO AND GOOGLE FIBER ANNOUNCE FIRST PUBLIC HOUSING UNITS TO BE CONNECTED TO ULTRA HIGH SPEED INTERNET THROUGH CONNECTHOME INITIATIVE
WASHINGTON - Building on the Obama Administration's goal to expand high speed broadband to all Americans, today, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro and Google Fiber Vice President, Dennis Kish, announced that the West Bluff Townhomes in Kansas City, Missouri will be the first public housing development to be connected to Google Fiber's ultra-high speed (gigabit speed, or up to 1000 mbps) internet through the ConnectHome Initiative. The 100 housing units at West Bluff are now able to sign up for Google Fiber gigabit speed internet free of cost. Over the next several months, gigabit service will be available to another 1300 public housing units in the Kansas City metro area. Additionally, Google Fiber will be bringing those high speeds to HUD assisted and affordable housing in all fiber cities, including the ConnectHome fiber cities of Atlanta, GA, Durham, NC, San Antonio, TX and Nashville, TN.
ConnectHome is a public-private collaboration to narrow the digital divide for families with school-age children who live in HUD-assisted housing. Through ConnectHome, Internet service providers, non-profits and the private sector will offer broadband access, technical training, digital literacy programs, and devices for residents in assisted housing units in 28 communities across the nation. ConnectHome creates a platform to help ensure that students have access to high-speed Internet for studying and doing their homework at home, as well as in school.
"For far too many low-income families, and especially their children, connecting to the Web remains a distant dream," said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. "Knowledge and education are the currency of this 21st Century economy, and Google Fiber is helping ensure that all children, no matter where they live, have access to the tools they need to be competitive in their schoolwork and close the digital divide."
"At Google Fiber, we believe that superfast speeds and access to home broadband can move entire communities forward. That's why we've partnered (http://googlefiberblog.blogspot.com/2015/07/connecthome-google-fiber.html) with ConnectHome (http://connecthome.hud.gov/) to bring some of the fastest Internet speeds to those who need it most. Families in these properties will be able to access gigabit Internet service, at no cost to the housing authority or to residents," said Dennis Kish, Vice President of Google Fiber.
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II added, "Last year, I called on Google and the Kansas City Housing Authority to help close Kansas City's digital divide and as the Ranking Member on the Housing and Insurance subcommittee in Congress, I have made closing the digital divide a top priority. Today's announcement is a strong step in the right direction and Secretary Castro and I agree that access to high-speed Internet is no longer a luxury but a necessity in our current global economy."
Google Fiber is launching this $0/month gigabit Internet service for select affordable housing properties in all of its current and future markets. The company is working with local providers to identify which properties it will connect in future cities. Inspired by its early success of the work (http://googlefiberblog.blogspot.com/2014/11/unlocking-connection-for-austin.html) with the Housing Authority for the City of Austin, Google Fiber is complementing its free gigabit Internet service by working with local partners to make new investments in computer labs and digital literacy classes so residents learn the skills they need to get online.
Since 2009, the private and public sectors have invested over $260 billion into new broadband infrastructure, and three in four Americans now use broadband at home. Despite this significant progress, one in four American families still don't access the internet at home, particularly lower-income families with children. While nearly two-thirds of America's lowest-income households own a computer, less than half have a home internet subscription. HUD's ConnectHome initiative strives to ensure that students can access the same level of high-speed Internet at home that they possess in their classrooms.
Eight nationwide Internet Service Providers including; Google Fiber, Cherokee Communications, Pine Telephone, Suddenlink Communications, Vyve Broadband, CenturyLink, Cox Communications and Sprint have announced they are partnering with mayors, public housing authorities, non-profit groups, and for-profit entities to bridge the gap in digital access for students living in assisted housing units.
More information about the ConnectHome Initiative (http://connecthome.hud.gov/).
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and http://espanol.hud.gov.
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