Saturday, May 30, 2015

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!

About this blog

PhillyDeals posts drafts, transcripts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area business, which he's been writing since 1989.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn and taught writing at St. Joseph's. He has written thousands of columns and articles for the Inquirer, Bloomberg and other media, wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at,, 215.854.5194 or 302.652.2004.

Reach Joseph N. at or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano