Favorite Moments from the Connect2Compete Pilot Event
An aspect I miss about working in the nonprofit sector on digital divide initiatives is the opportunity to be on the ground, physically delivering computers to families and witnessing their excitement. But in late May, I had the opportunity to get a hands-on look at recent efforts to bridge the divide when I traveled to San Diego for an event marking the kickoff of the Connect2Compete pilot.
Connect2Compete is a public/private partnership that provides low-cost broadband Internet connections and computers to low-income families with children on the National School Lunch Program. Through GoodPC, Redemtech is providing refurbished laptops and desktops, as well as free tech support, to C2C-eligible families.
There were many memorable moments from the event - it was exciting to meet so many C2C partners, and to have the chance to shake hands with the world’s wealthiest individual, Mexican businessman Carlos Slim. Mr. Slim joined the impressive list of speakers in addressing the importance of closing the broadband adoption gap in the United States. Mr. Slim’s foundation also pledged $3 million toward the effort.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski spoke eloquently on the importance of connectivity: “Broadband is our central platform in this 21st century for economic growth, innovation, and information. Broadband can be the great equalizer – giving every American with an Internet connection access to a world of new opportunities that might previously have been beyond their reach.” You can read coverage of the kickoff event here.
But, to me, the part of the event that best summed up why Connect2Compete is important was when a local family spoke about what in-home technology access would mean to them. While the statistic that roughly 100 million Americans lack broadband connectivity is daunting, family by family, Connect2Compete has the promise of attacking this disparity.
The pilot project, as comprehensive as it is, offers just a small taste of the larger Connect2Compete program, the scale of which is unbelievably ambitious. Redemtech is so very proud to be part of it all.
How could such a project make a meaningful impact in your local community? We’d love to hear your thoughts.