Thursday, February 11, 2016

US gives computers, not broadband, to Philly poor

$11.8 million to a long list of nonprofits who are supposed to educate poor people to use the Internet. How they'll pay for service is another question.

US gives computers, not broadband, to Philly poor


Obama's Internet stimulus program will give away 5,000 computers to "public housing residents and formerly homeless youth" in Philadelphia, plus training contracts to keep nonprofit agencies in business, but will stop short (in this grant) of giving away free or reduced-rate home Internet service, to poor Philadelphians. US Gov't statement and link here.

Obama's appointees have been pushing taxpayer-subsidized Internet construction subisides in upstate Pennsyvlania and other rural areas, but have shied away from similarly subsidizing service in cities where it could cut into sales by Comcast, Verizon and other Internet providers.

"Philadelphia Freedom Rings: SBA Partnership, a consortium of public and private entities led by The Urban Affairs Coalition," says today it "has been selected to receive an $11.8 million grant to provide Internet access, computers, and training to low-income residents and small businesses in Philadelphia." Urban Affairs Coalition statement here,

"The grant, announced today, was awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) through their Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP), part of their investments made through the America Recovery Reinvestment Act. 

 "The Urban Affairs Coalition will lead the project in collaboration with the Philadelphia Freedom Rings: SBA Partnership, a group that includes: Drexel University; Media Mobilizing Project; National Comprehensive Center for Fathers (NCCF); New America Foundation; One Day At A Time (ODAAT); People's Emergency Center, Philadelphia FIGHT; Tenet Social Services, Inc; Wilco Electronic Systems, Inc.; and Youth Outreach and Community Awareness Project (YOACAP)... 

"The lead organizations of the broader Philadelphia Freedom Rings Partnership are the City of Philadelphia with its NTIA-funded Public Computing Center project and Wilco Electronic Systems, Inc.'s proposed Comprehensive Community Infrastructure project." They all get a piece!

We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

PhillyDeals posts interviews, drafts and updates that Joseph N. DiStefano writes alongside his Sunday and Monday columns and ongoing articles about Philadelphia-area business.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn. He taught writing and research at St. Joe’s. He has written for the Inquirer since 1989, except when he left a few times to work at Bloomberg and elsewhere. He wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six kids with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at, 215.854.5194, @PhillyJoeD. Read his blog posts at and his Inquirer columns at Bloomberg posts his items at NH BLG_PHILLYDEAL.

Reach Joseph N. at or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
Also on
letter icon Newsletter