FCC Plans to Bring Affordable Computers, Internet Access to Millions

Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - 3:38pm

The head of the Federal Communications Commission announced a new plan Wednesday to bring high-speed internet to some of the nation's poorest children.

The discounted service would cost $9.95 a month, about a fifth of the national average. Cable and computer companies are teaming up with non-profits and the FCC to bring the internet to the masses.

"Whether we're talking about jobs, education or health care in this day and age getting on line is necessity not a convenience," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said during the announcement.

The program will be open to families with at least one child in the national school lunch program. The FCC says it won't cost taxpayers a dime.

It's estimated 100 million Americans, a third of the nation, still don't have access to high speed internet. The FCC says that's mostly because of the steep subscription prices averaging $45 a month.

Cable providers including Comcast, NBC's parent company, have agreed to slash their monthly subscription rates. Redemptech, a computer re-manufacturer, is offering refurbished computers starting at $150.

Microsoft says it's working on its own low-cost computer which would retail for around $250.

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