Reaction to FCC Connect to Compete Announcement Overwhelming, Encouraging
Redemtech’s critical involvement in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Connect to Compete initiative created quite a stir in the national mainstream and industry news media during the past week as news of the company’s Red Rabbitt brand of refurbished computers being made available to low-income families for $150 reached nearly 1,000 media outlets in recent days.
After initial coverage in several major news outlets when FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced the initiative on Nov. 9, including USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post, Redemtech’s involvement was noted by numerous news services, such as Reuters and the Associated Press, which reprinted the scoop in news outlets across the U.S. and around the world.
The gist of the news was a positive message: Redemtech has joined the Connect to Compete initiative created by the FCC to improve digital literacy in underserved communities throughout the U.S. Redemtech is the chosen provider of low-cost, high-quality refurbished computers, augmenting broadband access, training and technical assistance from other Connect to Compete partners.
Jill Vaské, Executive Vice President of Redemtech, who attended the FCC announcement in Washington, D.C., was quoted in several places, such as Digital Journal. "We are excited that our low-cost Red Rabbitt refurbished computers will enable Connect to Compete participants to get online. This is an opportunity for American corporations to securely distribute surplus computers through Redemtech to American citizens without compromising their financial returns, " Vaské said.
In the Columbus Dispatch, the hometown newspaper for Redemtech’s headquarters, the company’s major role in the $4 billion program to narrow the digital divide was further examined. “It’s a wonderful convergence of opportunity. We’re addressing the needs of the business marketplace and providing fully refurbished computers to a marketplace that’s really underserved today — there’s a very large number of Americans who don’t have low-cost access to the Internet,” Vaske was quoted as saying.
News coverage is one thing — a good thing — but editorial and opinion pieces condoning the company’s efforts is a whole other animal.
The Pocono Record published an editorial saying a plan to offer low-cost Internet service to low-income families nationwide is a good one. The FCC took the lead in Connect to Compete to link more homes to broadband. The goal is improving educational and job opportunities. Redemtech has offered to sell refurbished computers for $150. Connect to Compete represents a productive alliance between government and private enterprise to improve the lives and brighten the futures of a sector of the population that is struggling, the newspaper opined.
In the Yakima Herald-Republic, an editorial stated that one important 21st-century issue is access to computers in general and the Internet in particular. Cash-strapped families can't always come up with the money for a computer and broadband service, even in areas where the latter is available. “Redemtech, a national company that among other things recycles computers, will offer refurbished PCs for $150,” the editorial explained. “We hope qualifying families get the word about these services, which find government and business working together to identify a need and taking welcome steps to fill it.”
And the St. Petersburg Times wrote an opinion piece that said” “Not only will millions of poor families benefit, so will the country. Enabling poor students to do their homework at school without having to go to a public library and sign up for computer time will help them to have a fairer chance at the American dream, which is increasingly predicated on technological savvy. And that will deepen the pool of talent for America's future.”
In another expression of a positive opinion, Gartner researchers have published a First Take report titled FCC's Initiative to Bridge the U.S. Digital Divide Offers CSR Opportunities, in which the FCC’s Connect to Compete initiative is praised for offering opportunities for corporate social responsibility programs. Redemtech is enduringly involved with CSR efforts tied to our Serious Good program that unites business customers, partner non-profit organizations and communities in an ongoing collaboration to provide refurbished computers to organizations that have an ongoing need for equipment to support their programs and members.
In the report, Gartner writes that as the sole supplier of low-cost refurbished PCs, “Redemtech will likely seek out large volumes of used PC assets. This could benefit enterprises looking to develop a successful ITAD strategy in concert with their corporate social responsibility (CSR) organizations.”
The report goes on to say: “Enterprises may see higher returns from this lean, direct sale, which eliminates the wholesaler, while also assisting low-income families with bridging the digital divide.” Moreover, Redemtech’s free back-end recycle offer “will certainly demonstrate a ‘best effort,’” the Gartner report states.
A news story appearing on MSNBC stated that the $150 laptops “may be the program’s more enduring legacy. The FCC struck a deal with Redemtech, an Ohio-based business that helps companies sell their used computers or donate them to charities like Habitat for Humanity for a tax write-off. These businesses can now donate them to the FCC program as well. The price reflects the cost of refurbishing the machines. Jill Vaské, Redemtech’s executive vice-president, estimates the company can provide 150,000 to 200,000 computers in 2012, and 1 million the year after.”
Below are some of the other news articles that have been published and posted about the FCC announcement since it was made last week. Additional information will be provided through a special company news edition distributed to customer-subscribers.
FCC Unveils Broadband Plan for Low-Income Households
PC Magazine, 11-09-11
Cheaper Broadband, PCs Coming to Low-Income Families
Discounts to Put Internet Within Reach
Omaha World-Herald, 11-10-11
Comcast, Cox, Others to Help Close 'Digital Divide'
Billing & OSS World, 11-10-11
FCC and ISPs Join to Get Low-Income Families Online
E-commerce Times, 11-10-11
FCC Offers Discounted Broadband To Low-Income Families
FCC Offers Broadband to Low-Income Families
FCC Unveils Plan to Provide Broadband to the Poor