Google Fiber customers in Portland have something to smile about after the company confirmed it will be adding the city to its program for expanding Internet access to low-income residents.
Other beneficiaries of the development will be people who go without speedy online connections. The Digital Inclusion Fellowship program operates in partnership with a Portland organization, the Non-profit Technology Network.
It is already in the second year and awards fellowships in 11 cities to reach people without Internet access and help overcome the digital divide. Oregonlive.com reported that in Portland, the fellowship program will work with the Multnomah County Library and Free Geek as host organizations.
The library has just posted its fellowship opening, a one to two-year post responsible for enhancing existing digital literacy programming while building and expanding the capacity of community partners to deliver adult digital literacy programming.
Google Fiber contributes $1 million to support salaries and benefits for the fellows, and stipends for community organizations that participate. The Digital Inclusion program operates in 11 cities. Portland is the only one of them where Google hasn’t committed to offer its superfast Internet service.
Even though there has been no official communication from the company in regards to this development, all latest indications have clearly painted an announcement in the offing. For instance, they have hired Portland staffers, won permission to string its fiber on local utility poles and begun applying for permission to build network hubs in the city.
Expanding the Internet’s reach has been a priority for Google Fiber since the service’s launch four years ago. Last month, it announced a new, $15 service in areas of its cities where unusually high numbers of residents go without Internet access at home. Portland is preparing its own “Digital Equity Action Plan” to improve broadband connectivity for low-income residents.