PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Low-income families in the state are eligible for reduced-price computers and Internet access through a new program that aims to eliminate the digital disadvantages of growing up poor.
The initiative, announced Wednesday, is a joint effort by Cox Communications and Connect2Compete, a national nonprofit organization that works to bridge what it calls the "digital divide." Under the program, families with at least one child receiving free school lunch can get an Internet connection at a cost of $9.95 per month and can buy refurbished computers for $150 and laptops for $199.
About 29 percent of households in Rhode Island lack access to the Internet. Connect2Compete's chief operating officer, Brian Vahaly, said children without Internet access are at a distinct disadvantage compared with peers who can use the Internet to complete homework assignments.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, Central Falls Mayor James Diossa and other elected officials joined school officials and representatives from Cox and Connect2Comptete to highlight the initiative at Central Falls High School. Chafee said Internet access not only helps students achieve academic success but also prepares them for their future careers.
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