Program subsidizes Internet access
- By Brian Robinson
- Oct 25, 2002
Community Technology Network Project
Residents of public housing in Ohio are the latest recipients of computers
and Internet service supplied through the Community Technology Network Project
(CTNP), a for-profit program that aims to provide underprivileged populations
with an affordable way to get online in their homes.
CTNP began in August and is operating in Indiana and Michigan. It's
the brainchild of Indiana-based Worldwide Communications Group Inc. (WCG),
which is partnering with companies such as Oracle Corp., Hewlett-Packard
Co., the New Internet Computer Co., Western Union Holdings Inc. and ATX
Communications Inc. to provide the computers and Internet access.
It was developed in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Housing
and Urban Development.
The project is subsidizing 100 percent of all e-mail costs for the residents,
and up to 35 percent of the cost of the computers.
"This is a market that our partners will have to go after eventually,"
said T'ere Webb, senior vice president of marketing for WCG. "So the idea
is to get them involved now, and at the same time give these residents the
technology tools they will need to form a consumer base for the future."
WCG sees the program as enabling a large, underserved population to
become independent, contributing members of their communities. More directly,
it will offer people a means to communicate online with the government agencies
that are a big part of their lives, such as those involved with low-income
housing, food stamps, welfare and Medicaid programs.
One goal of the program is to convert the complicated paper-based annual
application process for housing assistance into a streamlined, standardized
Anyone in the United States may apply to join CTNP, Webb said, although
WCG has so far limited its marketing to the initial region. The next targets
are Illinois and Kentucky, she said.
CTNP is not involved directly with state or local governments, she added,
but information on the project will be openly provided if any jurisdictions
approach WCG about it.
Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be
reached at [email protected]
Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.