Cox Communications has announced a new partnership with the American Library Association, an effort intended to close the digital divide. This partnership is the result of the new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s focus on narrowing the digital divide prevalent in the communities. Three of the cities in the US: Topeka, Baton Rouge, and Tucson are selected in the partnership to pilot the program.
Pat Esser, President of Cox Communications has announced the plans in enhancing its Connect2Compete program that has been around since 1990. This will help in providing the best internet access to low income families in the communities. This will promote increased access for the students to the digital literacy training offered at the libraries and online platforms.
Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library CEO Gina Millsap said, “I think people are surprised that every day in public libraries in our community and around the country people are still setting up their first email account, they’re learning how to apply for a job online. 80 percent of jobs you have to apply online now.”
Cox has said that the partnership with the American Library Association will be a good way to study the results. This is done by offering customized training courses in both English and Spanish in the areas of Tucson, Topeka, and Baton Rouge.
The trainings are accessible for Cox customers on the website www.digitallearn.org and across the 1500 libraries that have collaborated with the company. Pet Esser further states about this pilot project that, “Experience with computers and the internet is necessary for competing in today’s digital world. Through our partnership, we will ensure that the libraries never close for our families, expanding the reach of their digital collections and services, and empowering more families to experience limitless learning and full participation in the knowledge economy.”
Both the companies in the partnership have stressed upon the importance of cheap internet connectivity in increasing the educational career opportunities for the low-income families. ALA President Julie Todaro exemplifies this in a statement that says, “America’s libraries combine the expertise of our librarians with a robust technology infrastructure and growing digital resources to advance digital opportunity for all in our nation. We look forward to working with Cox to further extend our reach and resources to help more families thrive online.”
Cox has been one of the major players in the Connect2Compete program in providing discount broadband prices to lower income families. The company also came up with another program last year offering free WiFi for the participants of Connect2Compete.