Cox Communications and American Library Association Partner to Narrow Digital Divide for Low-Income Families
Collaboration expands reach of libraries’ resources and services, empowering more families to compete in knowledge economy
CHESAPEAKE, VA –Low-income students and their families who lack digital literacy skills and an internet connection at home struggle to keep pace with their peers in the classroom, as nearly all students (96.5% percent) say they are required to use the internet to complete homework assignments outside of school.* Today Cox Communications and the American Library Association (ALA) announced a new partnership that will strengthen and expand Cox’s commitment to connecting low-income students and their families with technology, providing a stronger foundation for success in the classroom, in continuing education and in job opportunities. Through this new partnership, more low-income families will have access to digital literacy training and resources in their local libraries and online at www.digitallearn.org.
"Experience with computers and the internet is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity for competing in today’s digital world,” said Cox Virginia SVP and Region Manager J.D. Myers, II. “Digital literacy training designed to empower low-income families is crucial to realize the full potential of a home internet connection. Cox offers low-cost internet access through our Connect2Compete discounted internet service program, and we’re excited to narrow the digital divide even further by raising awareness of free digital literacy training available and ensuring it’s easily accessible to more local residents both online and through interactive classes held in local libraries.”
In all Cox markets across the company’s 18-state footprint, Cox and the libraries will collaborate on digital literacy and internet adoption initiatives, including a public service advertising campaign on Cox’s cross-channel cable lineup. In Tucson, Topeka and Baton Rouge, Cox and the libraries will pilot the deployment of enhanced digital literacy training and resources for families and library patrons in those communities. Those who receive formal digital literacy training (as opposed to informal assistance from family or friends) are significantly more likely to use the internet to pursue economic opportunities and cultivate social ties.** Research will be conducted to measure the outcomes of the pilot.
“America’s libraries combine the expertise of our librarians with a robust technology infrastructure and growing digital resources to advance digital opportunity for all in our nation,” said ALA President Julie Todaro. “We look forward to working with Cox to further extend our reach and resources to help more families thrive online.”
With home broadband, the library never closes. Home broadband access expands the reach of libraries growing digital collections and services—empowering more people to experience limitless learning and full participation in the information age.
“Public libraries are a wellspring of possibility. With more than 16,500 physical locations in communities of all sizes across the country, we also make powerful partners in bridging the digital divide,” said Public Library Association (PLA) President Felton Thomas. “This new effort with Cox Communications effectively connects in-person digital literacy training with online DigitalLearn resources, extensive community outreach, and evaluation to make a real difference in people’s lives.”
Connect2Compete is a program offering discounted internet service for families with at least one K-12 student living in public housing, qualifying for a free or reduced school lunch through the National School Lunch Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). According to a 2015 Cox survey, more than half of students are more interested in school and have improved grades after enrolling in Connect2Compete. Over the years, there have been no price increases, no activation fees and no equipment rental fees associated with the program. Last year Cox introduced free in-home WiFi for families enrolled in the Connect2Compete program, making it easier for multiple family members to access the internet connection at the same time. Families enrolled in Connect2Compete also have free access to more than 500,000 Cox WiFi and Cable WiFi hotspots across the country, in cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
Through public-private partnerships and a dedicated focus across the entire Cox organization, the company plans to continue leading the way in closing the digital divide in the communities it serves. Cox has been a leader in efforts to close the digital divide since the company first launched internet service in the late 1990s, and has made steady investments in its programs and initiatives.
About Cox Communications
Cox Communications is a broadband communications and entertainment company, providing advanced digital video, Internet, telephone and home security and automation services over its own nationwide IP network. The third-largest U.S. cable company, Cox serves approximately 6 million residences and businesses. Cox Business is a facilities-based provider of voice, video and data solutions for commercial customers, and Cox Media is a full-service provider of national and local cable spot and digital media advertising. Cox is known for its pioneering efforts in broadband, voice and commercial services, industry-leading customer care and its outstanding workplaces. For nine years, Cox has been recognized as the top operator for women by Women in Cable Telecommunications; Cox has ranked among DiversityInc's Top 50 Companies for Diversity 11 times. More information about Cox Communications, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, is available at and www.coxmedia.com.
About the American Library Association and Public Library Association
The American Library Association (ALA), with more than 57,000 members, is the voice of America's libraries and the millions of people who depend on them. A division of ALA, the Public Library Association, is the largest association dedicated to supporting the unique and evolving needs of public library professionals. More information is available at www.ala.org and www.pla.org.
**According to an ALA brief on libraries and digital empowerment