LOS ANGELES & SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- With an aspirational goal of 200,000 new broadband adoptions among low-income households in California over the next two years, Frontier Communications (NYSE:FTR, news, filings) is awarding $3 million in grants to community-based organizations that work toward closing the state's digital divide. In addition, Frontier is donating 50,000 laptops to be distributed by those organizations to participating low-income households.
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According to the 2016 Annual Survey on Home Broadband Adoption in California conducted by the Field Research Corporation, 16 percent of Californiahouseholds still do not have access to high-speed Internet, which means they are economically disadvantaged when it comes to doing homework, applying for college and jobs, and connecting to health, education, and civic information.
"These grants align with Frontier's mission to serve our California communities and affirm our commitment to expand high-speed connectivity where currently unavailable," said Melinda White, West Region President of Frontier Communications.
"Frontier's public benefits contributions to California are exemplary of the way companies can help close the digital divide and provide to all residents the 21st Century civil right of high-speed Internet access," said Sunne Wright McPeak, President and CEO of the California Emerging Technology Fund.
"Access to affordable high-speed Internet is an economic and social imperative," said Commissioner Catherine J.K. Sandoval of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). "I applaud the efforts by Frontier and CETF to work with local agencies to take real steps to increase access to affordable Internet service and help Californians narrow the digital divide."
According to the 2016 Field Poll, the California groups reporting the lowest levels of home broadband connectivity, including those using a smartphone only, are: adults who have not graduated from high school, 63%; seniors age 65 or older, 56%; adults who identify having a disability, 71%; Spanish-speaking Latinos, 69%; and households whose total annual income is less than $20,000, 68%.
In an effort to shrink the digital divide, Frontier has introduced Frontier Affordable Broadband for qualified low-income households located within itsCalifornia territory. Offering speeds as fast as 7Mbps/1Mbps for just $13.99 per month, the service is available in a package with landline telephone to customers who qualify for the California LifeLine program. Existing Frontier California LifeLine landline customers are eligible to add Frontier Affordable Broadband to their service.
In the first set of grants, 12 California nonprofits have been tasked to connect 25,000 low-income households to broadband by 2018. To achieve that goal, the organizations will work to build awareness and adoption of the Frontier Affordable Broadband offering.
The organizations awarded grants include: The Amador Tuolumne Community Agency; The American GI Forum Education Foundation; California Foundation for Independent Living Centers; California State University, Fresno Foundation; Computers for Families Santa Barbara-Partners in Education; The CSU Chico Research Foundation; Human-I-T; McFarland Unified School District; National Asian American Coalition; Southeast Community Development Corporation; The Stride Center; United Ways of California.
Administering the grants is the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF), a public benefit foundation directed by the California Public Utilities Commission to close the digital divide. Since 2007, CETF has worked to close the home broadband gap in California from 45 percent in 2008 to 16 percent in 2016 by focusing on three primary barriers to high-speed Internet adoption: cost; relevance; and digital literacy.
About Frontier Communications
Frontier Communications Corporation, a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leader in providing communications services to urban, suburban and rural communities in 29 states. Frontier offers a variety of services to residential customers over its fiber-optic and copper networks, includingvideo, high-speed internet, advanced voice and Frontier Secure digital protection solutions. Frontier Business Edge offers communications solutions to small, medium and enterprise businesses. Frontier's approximately 29,000 employees are based entirely in the United States. More information about Frontier is available at www.frontier.com.
About the California Emerging Technology Fund
Established in 2007 by the California Public Utilities Commission as a result of two corporate mergers, CETF's mission is to close the Digital Divide. CETF is on target to reach 98% of all California residences with broadband infrastructure and to achieve 80% home adoption by 2017. This statewide goal can only be accomplished if the following hard-to-reach target communities achieve at least a 70% adoption rate: low-income populations, Latino households, rural communities, and people with disabilities. For more information, please visit internetforallnow.org and www.cetfund.org.
Available for Interviews
Sunne Wright McPeak, President and CEO, California Emerging Technology Fund
Melinda M. White, President of Frontier Communications West Region
Representatives of 12 community-based organizations receiving Frontier grants
Source: Frontier Communications Corporation
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