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President Obama Announces ConnectAll Plan, Will Provide Wi-Fi to 20 Million Low-Income Families

U.S. President Obama listens to remarks during event held to honor members of U.S. teams and delegations from the Sochi Olympics and Paralympics at the White House in Washington

President Obama announced a new plan to give Internet access to low-income families by the year 2020.

The plan, ConnectAll, will give an estimated 20 million people access to high-speed Internet in under five years.

The news broke on Facebook, where the President wrote about the possibilities of the initiative. According to the post, the plan will help students with digital assignments who otherwise would not have viable options to do their work. The White House stated in the official announcement that families earning under $25,000 a year are about half as likely to have the Internet at home. The Facebook post states:

“If you’re in middle school or high school today, a lot more of your teachers are giving out online assignments than even just a few years ago. That’s good – because in a digital world, our students need to keep up. For most students, it’s easy enough. They just download the assignment on their phone or log on to the home computer. But for the millions of American families that can’t afford broadband, it’s a lot more complicated. All of America’s students should be able to get online, no matter where they live or how much their parents make. We’re calling this effort ConnectAll — and it’s not just good for students, it’s good for folks looking for jobs or workers hoping to learn new skills.”

In the wake of the Facebook post, the White House laid out the benefits immediately. Research from the Council of Economic Advisers states that job seekers who use the Internet are 25 percent more likely to find jobs.

The president also revealed that the initiative will help low-income families by providing a $9.25 per month subsidy to help pay for broadband service.

According to a New York Times report, the broadband subsidy will be part of a revamp of a three-decades-old phone program for low-income homes. The fund comes from line-item charges to every wireless phone bill and the proposal will go to a vote on March 31.

ConnectAll is a unique program that, according to the White House, will also help increase broadband access to families in public housing and increase broadband adoption rates to 82 percent by 2020.

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