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Cox Narrows Digital Divide

New program offers low cost internet service to disadvantaged families.

Discount Program

Cox2Compete offers the following for Virginia families with children receiving free school lunches:

*Internet service for $9.95 a month plus tax

*No deposit required

*No contracts to sign

*No installation or modem rental fees

*Price is guaranteed for two years.

Registration is now open until the end of the year. Visit Connect2Compete.org/Cox or call toll free: 1-855-222-3252

Connect2Compete

*The Connect2Compete Cox initiative was developed in conjunction with the partnership with the Federal Communications Commission and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

*Cox Communications was the first cable company in the nation to conduct a pilot test of the Connect2Compete program in San Diego, in the spring of 2012.

*Beginning April 2013, Cox launched the C2C program nationwide.

Importance of student access to technology at home, according to Cox Cable:

*50 percent of today’s jobs require technology skills; this will increase to 77 percent in the next decade.

*76 percent of K-12 teachers assign internet-based homework that students without broadband and digital skills are struggling to complete.

*30 percent of all Americans-approximately 100 million people — risk becoming increasingly isolated from contemporary life because they lack the internet service and digital skills necessary to use it effectively.

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by about 100 people on Monday, June 3, at the Murraygate Village Community Center located near the Hybla Valley Shopping Center off of Richmond Highway, Cox Cable executives from Fairfax County, Northern Virginia, and their national offices, announced the launch of Connect2Compete Virginia, a national non-profit program to provide broadband internet access in their homes to families with children (K-12) who participate in the national free school lunch program by offering discounted high speed internet service.

They were joined by local and state elected and appointed officials, including: Chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors, Sharon Bulova, state Sen. Toddy Puller, and Delegates Scott Surovell, Jim Scott, Vivian Watts, Kaye Kory, Acting Chairwoman of the Federal Communication Commission Mignon Clyburn, Wonhee Kang, regional director, Fairfax County Region, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, with participating children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, and Brent Wilkes, of the League of United Latin American Citizens, among other dignitaries and community leaders.

“Cox has a strong history of supporting broadband adoption programs that connects the most vulnerable members of our society — our children — so they can compete and have a greater chance of success in the digital world that awaits them,” said Cox Virginia Senior Vice President and General Manager, Gary McCollum. “We are in a race to extend internet access to our most needy children so they will not fall behind in their education and can successfully compete in the digital world.”

Former School Board member and founder of the Coalition of the Silence, Tina Hone, said, “This announcement is wonderful; it is a tribute to the forward thinking and commitment of Cox and Gary McCollum that this is happening in Virginia … the leadership is important here because the digital divide exists even in affluent Fairfax County.”

Mount Vernon-area Del. Scott Surovell has introduced legislation that, if enacted, would prevent a public school system “digital divide” by prohibiting the use of innovative information technology in all Virginia public school systems unless the local school districts could verify that the technology devices, e-books and other innovative technology was available to all students. The bill has been referred for study to the Joint Commission on Technology and Science.

The Fairfax County school system has been supportive and was represented at the Cox announcement event by Assistant Superintendent for Information Marybeth Luftglass. Describing the scope of the affected families and children, John Torre, public information officer for the public school system said, “There are 47,188 children currently enrolled in the Fairfax county public schools who are eligible for the free and reduced lunch program. That is 26 percent of the total public school student body in Fairfax County.”

In response to the inequalities inherent in the access to technology by low income families and their children, the public school system has formed an Information Technology Committee which is consulting with parents and community leaders and studying ways in which digital learning systems can be fully integrated into the school system’s planning, budgeting, and curricula. Later this year the school system staff will prepare a report with recommendations for fully integrating digital learning and forward it to the School Board for their consideration.