Feds, companies work to close digital divide

“The impact is significant,” said a company statement. “The resulting lost earning potential to the country is $825 billion, lost tax revenues are $123 billion, and social program inefficiencies top $125 billion. According to a recent study (the Arnold Group 2011), the cumulative impact of digital exclusion for these students to the U.S. economy is $32 billion every year, and over the working lifetime of these students, it’s over $1.2 trillion.”

“Roughly 100 million Americans remain unconnected to high-speed internet, and the economic cost of digital exclusion is rising every day,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski in a statement. “This isn’t a problem for government alone. The private sector, nonprofit groups, and government actors must work collaboratively to close this gap, create jobs, and ensure America’s global competitiveness.”

Charlotte, N.C., (through Project L.I.F.T.) and Seattle (through the Great Student Initiative) are among the first cities supporting Shape the Future, said Microsoft, and they will be launching digital inclusion initiatives for students in their communities.

Over a three-year period, all 50 states plus Guam and Puerto Rico will have the opportunity to participate.

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