The Digital Divide is a in the developed world as well as the developing world. Within the US there are still millions of people who do not yet have access to the Internet. Connect 2 Compete is a non-profit organization that is working to close the Digital Divide in the US. The mission of this organization is to connect every American to the Internet. Instead of giving everyone Internet for free, which would be unrealistic, Connect 2 Compete makes low-cost options available. It simply asks you to enter your zip code and answer a few other questions to see if you are eligible for these options. The internet companies that give low cost options through Connect 2 Compete are FreedomPop, Comcast, Cox, Wilco, Bright House, and Mediacom. All of these companies require you to live in one of the 14,000 zip codes in which they work to be eligible for low-cost Internet. In addition to the zip code, all of the organizations with the exception of FreedomPop and Wilco require a child in the household to be eligible to receive free school lunch through the National School Lunch Program.
In addition to low-cost Internet options, Connect 2 Compete sells refurbished computers to qualifying users for $150 and allows everyone to find free Internet and computer training classes in their area. This helps people overcome barriers to not using the Internet, such as not having the money or not understanding how to use a computer or the Internet. I like that Connect 2 Compete is helping people within the United States get access to the Internet and computers. Although the Digital Divide is a problem internationally, there has also been a Digital Divide within the United States as well. Allowing everyone in the US to have access to the Internet may be able to increase the online market, increase work that small businesses can do, as well as make it easier for recent graduates or the unemployed to find jobs.
As Connect 2 Compete started nationwide in the Fall of 2012, evaluations about whether or not the program has been effective are not yet available. Time will tell if they have been able to make progress towards the goal of Internet access for all Americans. As of now, the only criticism that I have is that until I read about the organization in an article, I had never heard of it. Although there is supposedly a campaign to get the word out, I do not believe that the scope of the campaign has been big enough. Connect 2 Compete has a great mission and it is important for everyone to have the opportunity to become a part of it.