Google Fiber, the high speed Internet access offered by the search giant in a handful of cities, is pledging free service in some low income communities to help bridge the digital divide.
One in four households earning less than $30,000 per year don’t have Internet access, according to a study from Pew Research Center.
By comparison, 3 percent of adults making more than $75,000 per year don’t access the Internet.
Google’s announcement is a part of ConnectHome, a project spearheaded by the Whitehouse and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development aiming to provide broadbandaccess to low-income families, allowing children to get online and complete their homework. Several other companies have signed on to the initiative, including Sprint, Cox Communications and Best Buy.
The plan is to provide high-speed Internet access and computer education courses for as many as 275,000 families in 28 communities. Google Fiber currently serves Atlanta, Durham, Nashville and Kansas City, however the company said it plans to expand the free Internet initiative in future markets.
What makes Google Fiber especially intriguing is its speed: Google claims the service is up to 100 times faster than basic broadband. Movies can be downloaded in as fast as two minutes, while Google said the high-speed service could help make advances in science and business.
With competitive prices, Google Fiber has also been able to entice some users to switch. The company charges $70 per month for Internet service and $120 for a television and Internet bundle in its the Kansas City market.
Earlier this year, Google said it was exploring at the possibility of bringing Fiber to more cities and would provide an update in the latter part of 2015. Those said to be in the running include Phoenix; Salt Lake City; San Jose, California; Portland, Oregon; and San Antonio.