WASHINGTON – July 16, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) – Congressman Chaka Fattah (PA-02) announced today that Philadelphia has been selected for a new federal pilot program that seeks to accelerate high speed broadband adoption in communities across the United States. The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) ConnectHome initiative will develop collaborations between local governments, private companies, nonprofit organizations, and other interested stakeholders to produce locally-tailored solutions for narrowing the digital divide and bringing affordable, high-speed internet access to more low-income Americans. Philadelphia was one of five Promise Zones chosen for the program.
“This is an incredible opportunity for Philadelphia to expand our efforts to close the digital divide in our community,” Congressman Chaka Fattah said. “Access to the Internet is so important for everyone in this digital age, but especially to our students who increasingly require high speed internet to complete schoolwork and expand their learning capacity when they are away from a classroom or library. I look forward to working with stakeholders across our community to ensure this pilot program is as successful as possible.”
The ConnectHome program—that will initially reach more than 275,000 low-income households—is centered on building regional partnerships that will bring broadband, technical assistance, and digital literacy training to students living in public and assisted housing across America. All participating communities and stakeholders will be required to develop standards for measuring the effectiveness of the program and report on their results to maintain accountability and the highest quality of service.
Congressman Fattah has worked throughout his Congressional career to expand broadband acceleration and close the digital divide—especially in high poverty communities where the divide is greatest. In 2012, Fattah helped secure more than $6 million in broadband funding for Philadelphia through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The money has supported opening public computer centers, and digital training and support services around the city.
Fattah has championed ConnectED in Congress and continues to support legislation to ensure that all students have access to the latest tools, digital technology, and quality instruction. He also sat on the Web-Based Education Commission to the Congress and the President that more than a decade ago developed a comprehensive report that offered policy recommendations geared toward maximizing the educational promise of the Internet and minimizing the digital divide.