Nonprofit Groups Collaborate to Locate Free Internet Access for Students
Motivated by the onset of summer vacation, a coalition of nonprofit groups are collaborating to get young people connected to the Internet by producing and distributing a directory — in both English and Spanish — of more than 20,000 locations nationwide that offer free Internet access. The ConnectNet database, searchable by zip code, provides information about free Internet access at libraries and other community technology centers. A toll-free telephone number — (866) 583-1234 — also provides the information to those without Internet access.
“This is really the first site of its kind to plot out community technology centers,” Andy Carvin, a senior associate at the Benton Foundation and project coordinator, told The New York Times. The Kaiser Family Foundation is promoting the effort through a series of television commercials, directed at teen-agers, that will air in English and Spanish throughout the summer. The bulk of free Internet access sites are housed in about 16,000 public libraries throughout the country. The remaining locations are at community technology centers — some of which are sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Commerce and Housing and Urban Development.
Studies by the Commerce Department have found that low-income individuals without computers or Internet access in their homes frequently take advantage of free Internet access at their local libraries and community technology centers.
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