Google is to offer free broadband to people living in public housing and other affordable housing project properties. It will also offer free computer skills training.
The free service, which will have no connection fee, will be available initially in Atlanta, Durham, Kansas City and Nashville before being rolled out to all cities where Google currently offers its high speed fiber internet.
While the service offers theoretical speeds up to 1,000 megabits per second, Google’s announcement didn’t specify that’s what will be available in the public housing program. Google Fiber does offer a Basic Internet plan with speeds up to 5 megabits per second. That’s already free of charge to all customers in areas covered by Google Fiber, though normally it carries an eyewatering $300 installation fee.
As well as providing the free connection, Google plans to find local facilities to host “digital literacy training.” In a test program in Manhcaca Village, a public housing facility in Austin, 90 percent of residents took up the free service and more than half attended the training sessions.
The offer is part of a wider program called ConnectHome run by the White House and the Department of Housing and Urban Development that is trying to expand internet use among public housing residents, particularly children.