There are no solar-powered drones or balloons involved in this plan to deliver Internet, but it may just be Google’s best yet. On Wednesday, the Silicon Valley behemoth announced its plan to bring free Google Fiber to those who need it most: low-income Americans who currently have little to no access to the Internet. Last summer, the tech company promised to bring some 275,000 households online in conjunction with the White House’s ConnectHome initiative. And now, that process has begun with 100 homes in the West Bluff public housing complex located in Kansas City. Each of these 100 households was given a free Google Fiber connection, an achievement made possible with the company’s collaboration with the Housing Authority of Kansas City.
The importance of having an Internet connection has long been heralded by the Obama administration, especially in terms of education. Having this basic access can mean more “after-school programs and STEM classes, more students going online to finish their homework, more people taking advantage of resources like Khan Academy, and more families learning basic computer skills that help them be more connected,” Google said in an official blog post announcement. And with its free extremely high-speed Internet connection, the web company is helping bring more and more people into the 21st century.
In the last couple months, the U.S. has been panned for its failure to deliver decent Internet service to many of its citizens, as well as the wide discrepancy in coverage that exists among different geographies and demographics.
“The U.S. has some of the most expensive broadband in the world, while lagging far behind other countries in Internet speeds,” Google notes. “And for families in affordable housing, cost can be one of the biggest barriers to getting online.”
But moving forward, the tech giant plans to make great strides in narrowing this problematic gap. Google says it plans to “bring gigabit Internet to select affordable housing in all of our Fiber cities,” and further notes that it’ll be “complementing this $0/month 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.”