Cox Pledges $20 Million Annually Towards Broadband Adoption
Internet adoption programs are reaching more Americans than ever and helping them lead their best lives while giving them the skills and tools they need to compete in the global marketplace. And they got another boost yesterday when Cox Communications announced that the company is increasing its commitment to $20 million annually for Connect2Compete.
Cox's CEO Pat Esser made the announcement yesterday along with the release of survey results that measured the impact of the program and how Cox will continue to expand it to more Americans. The survey of 1,700 families revealed that 91 percent think that the program gives their children a leg up for high school graduation and 89 percent said that Connect2Compete helps their kids achieve higher grades in school. In addition, 95 percent agreed that the program has made it easier to communicate with their children's teachers and school.
"We're proud of this progress and its not going to stop there," said Esser. "Broadband adoption is gaining momentum. We're proud to continue to drive this by devoting important resources like public service announcements, donated advertising time, community investment, and discounted services to help close the digital divide in our communities."
Cox Communications has long been making a difference for families and individuals across its footprint through Connect2Compete–which now reaches over 400,000 people that Cox serves–and its dedication to broadband adoption over the past two decades. The program offers discounted internet service for eligible groups, but the program does much more than help with costs. With over 60 percent of Connect2Compete customers being first-time internet users, the program offers a plethora of digital resources and media literacy training through its partnerships with youth organizations like the Boys and Girls Club and its very own Cox Digital Academy which launched last year.
Connect2Compete currently holds over 100 Cox technology centers across its footprint, which kids can utilize after school through their local Boys & Girls Club–giving them internet access at home, at school, and before going home. "It's that multi-tier access that's critical if these kids are going to be successful," said Esser of the seamless transition in connectivity that Cox is working to establish for kids. Earlier this year, Cox also increased the internet speeds of Connect2Compete by over 50 percent in order to help students meet the growing digital demands of their school work.
At the event, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai praised Cox's efforts to invest in broadband adoption. "Connect2Compete is setting the pace with respect to the private sector initiative," said Pai. Pai also shared his experience of visiting people on both sides of the digital divide throughout this past year, and the lifetime impact that comes with having a broadband connection. He met a veteran whose mental health improved through his access to telemedicine, and a student in a tribal school who no longer worries over whether the internet will go out by the time she gets a chance to access the classroom computer. "This is a win for Americans who finally get to be participants in rather than spectators of this digital economy," said Pai. "Bridging the digital divide should be, in my view, a national mission."
Zach Leverenz, CEO of EveryoneOn–a parent organization for Connect2Compete that aims to close the digital divide through partnerships with the technology industry–explained that while there is still work to be done to connect the remaining Americans who are missing out on the benefits of a broadband connection, champions like Cox are moving closer towards that goal: "Cox has both the passion and the will to get this done."
As we learned this past summer when Comcast released its seven-year progress report on the Internet Essentials program, participants of internet adoption programs are now experiencing more opportunities in education, in entertainment, on the job front, with government assistance, and in social networking. The good news continues this week with Cox's latest announcement about the success of their Connect2Compete program.