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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Google is fighting the good fight with new initiative

Let’s be honest: You’re on the Internet right now. You must be, if you’re reading this.

You, I and everyone we run into on campus is using, or at least has, some sort of access to the Internet. Internet and social media interactions play a substantial part in everyday life. We’ve reached the point where we can’t really picture our lives (and selves) without it.

From schoolwork and online classes to connecting with my family and friends, the Internet finds its way into my life so easily. Unfortunately, not everyone has this luxury.

The harsh reality is that a gap exists between demographics who have access to modern information and technology and those who don’t. There are many people out there who aren’t as lucky as we are. There are people who don’t have access to the Internet as easily as most of us do. Thankfully, Google is taking the initiative to wipe out this so-called “digital divide.”

Approximately a quarter of households with an income below $30,000 lack Internet connection, while 97 percent of households with an income over $75,000 have access to the service that was once considered a luxury. That, dear readers, is the digital divide.

Many households that do have an Internet connection are under-connected, relying on mobile connections with limited data usage. If you’ve ever been on limited data or the unlimited data plans that offer usable speeds to a certain point of usage, you know that doing serious work on such a connection can be a real challenge. Not only do low-income families have to deal with slow speeds, but many of these families also experience service interruption if they are not able to pay.

So what is Google doing about it? Through the ConnectHome program, the tech giant will provide free or reduced-cost high speed Internet to low-income families throughout the nation.

The program will start with 100 homes in Kansas City, Missouri, which will be offered high-speed broadband at no cost. These will become the first group of 275,000 families across the U.S. to access to Google Fiber, a service that provides broadband Internet and cable television. Google plans to expand the program over the next six months into cities like Nashville, Tennessee, and Salt Lake City to gradually close the digital divide across the nation.

When I first heard about Google’s ConnectHome program, I realized that I’m not as grateful for having Internet access as I should be. Daily, I do online assignments, check Twitter and find whatever information I need in a matter of seconds. But for many American families, it isn’t that easy.

Faster Internet connections mean faster access to job applications, schoolwork and, of course, entertainment. I applaud Google and its initiative to close this boundary in a time where Internet access is no longer a luxury, but a necessary tool to succeed.  


Follow Arlinne Rodriguez on Twitter


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