FCC enlists more cable providers to offer discounted broadband to low-income families

Back in September, Comcast teamed up with the FCC to offer discounted broadband access to low-income families, in the hopes of bridging the connectivity gulf separating the haves from the have-nots. Today, that campaign is gaining new momentum, now that Time Warner Cable, Cox and most other major US cable providers have thrown their hats into the ring. According to the New York Times, many of the industry's heaviest hitters have agreed to offer high-speed access for just $9.99 per month, fueling the FCC's efforts to reach the estimated 100 million Americans without an at-home internet connection. The low-cost service will be made available for a 2-year period to disconnected families who have at least one child enrolled in the national school lunch program, and who have not recently subscribed to a broadband provider. On top of that, Ohio-based IT firm Redemtech will provide discounted computers to these families at a price of $150, with Morgan Stanley offering microcredit to those who need a little extra time to make the payment. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski says the initiative, slated to be announced later today, should make a "real dent in the broadband adoption gap," by making the internet more accessible and, in theory, more valuable. The Commission hopes to expand the program to the entire country by September 2012, now that it's enlisted most cable heavyweights. Notably missing from the initiative are Verizon and AT&T (which has its own FCC-related matters to worry about), though the reasons for their absence remain unclear.