“Cox gives laptops to eighth-graders”

Kudos to Cox. This morning’s Advocate reports on Cox’s latest effort to address the digital divide and offers a brief overview of continuing efforts in Lafayette to address the issue.

The company announced Thursday that it will donate 350 Dell netbooks to select eighth-graders who have no access to the Internet at home. The donation also includes free home Internet service for a year.

This isn’t Cox’s first donation—they did something very similar back in ’08 supporting The Early College Academy. This time through:

[Cox] will donate 350 Dell netbooks to select eighth-graders who have no access to the Internet at home. The donation also includes free home Internet service for a year…

The 350 students will be identified through the district’s GEAR UP program, an early college-awareness program that targets middle-school students.

This initiative resembles a suggestion made late last year by the cable industry. At that point the NCTA—the industry’s support and promotion arm, suggested that a good way to use some of the broadband stimulus money was to support its “A Plus” program; that program was broader but less generous with Cable’s resources. It suggested that:

(1) digital media literacy training; (2) discounted computers that can access the Internet; and (3) discounted home broadband service to households that do not currently receive a broadband service.

Cox is also renewing support for the Boys and Girls Club, this time donating an expansion of their computer lab to the Jackie Club.

These generous donations join other Lafayette-based efforts to ensure equity in accessing the internet. In ’09 Je’Nelle Chagois’ Heritage School put 200 computers into the hands of students at Faulk Elementary. The Heritage School is also a participant in a $5.3 million stimulus grant request with LUS that has a similar, student-based purpose.—A second grant for $3.5 million has LUS and LCG partnering to build and enhance community computer centers that serve a broad range of citizens.

It’s all good stuff. Kudos to Cox on this one.

UPDATE 7/13/10: The Advertiser logs in with a substantially similar story this morning, except theirs doesn’t discuss other Lafayette efforts to bridge the divide…

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