Community Broadband Access

High speed Internet for low-income, under-served communities


  • Community Internet:
    • High speed Internet access for households and affordable housing developments in underserved communities.
    • Allows job applications, inquiries and skill-building, at the household level.
  • Business Internet:
    • High speed Internet access for local businesses.
    • Increases the possibility for new ICT hiring, due to improved Internet resources and software access.
    • IT resources for business processes that were previously done manually.
    • On-line hiring capabilities.
    • Recruitment and development of new business that is Internet-dependent.
    • Expansion of customer base through e-commerce.

Program Structure

  • Funding for developing Internet service to be acquired by local school districts (e.g., Federal Stimulus funds and/or County Office of Education Funds.)
  • Community collaboration to take advantage of discounted services available to public education (EDTech 90% discount) and the Housing Authority (CalNet 80% discount.)
  • Distribution of free DSL services to educational institutions.
  • Low-fee or no-cost Internet services are contracted by educational institutions or cities to city agencies, residents and businesses.

Program Alternatives

  • One Economy’s Bring IT Home California Initiative, in partnership with AT&T, provides free Express DSL service subscriptions to residents of underserved communities in California for 2 years.
    • An introductory incentive to AT&T service, for customers in underserved communities.
    • A One Economy 21CC Lead Organization, and 21CC partner organizations, agree to market the 2-year free DSL service in the community, and assist interested residents in completing the application.
    • Accepted residents are sent hardware, installation instructions and associated devices directly from AT&T to use in their homes.
  • One Economy Express DSL free residential service is restricted to 21st Century Communities in California (21CC.)
  • Free wiring and DSL service at affordable housing developments, with a 3-year contract:
    • 21CC Lead Organizations work with One Economy to develop relationships with affordable housing developers to wire all units for free DSL for 2 years, and maintenance for 1 year.
    • The housing developer agrees to pick up the cost of maintenance for year 2; and for DSL service and maintenance for yea 3 and beyond.
    • All labor and hardware are included in the offer, and the developer/owner owns the network after the 3-year contract expires.
  • 21CC Lead Organizations may deliver computer literacy and internet classes to participating residents, supported by
    • The community’s development of localized online consumer content through One Economy’s Beehive (, with information on finding better jobs, building business plans, filing for earned income tax credits, and managing chronic illness.
    • Youth education and training, through One Economy’s Digital Connectors Program: training youth to serve as technology ambassadors in their community.
    • Low-cost computer purchase programs.

Organizational Prerequisites

  • Collaboration between City, education system, housing authority, CBOs and IT industry partners.
  • Funding applications to appropriate agencies.
  • Administration of systems for Internet service support.
  • Billing systems may be needed.
  • Relationship with local Internet service provider.
  • Staff for liaison and troubleshooting.


For clients

  • Establishing new service may be daunting.
  • Troubleshooting can be frustrating.
  • Computer hardware access, training and technical support are needed.

For the organization

  • Maintaining productive relationships with collaborative partners and Internet service provider.
  • Support and technical expertise for establishing and maintaining Internet connections.
  • Infrastructure for tracking and providing customer service and tech support.
  • Billing services may be required if DSL will be re-sold.

Elements of Success

  • Strength of partnerships and long-term agreements (3+ years.)
  • Trust of community; strong relationships with residents.
  • Adequate funding to provide accessible, affordable training and technical support to residents “at scale,” .
  • A cadre of community-based tech support teams.
  • Staff: Program Developer (0.5 FTE); Outreach/Marketing (0.5 FTE); Trainer (0.5 FTE.)


  • Corporations.
  • Foundations.
  • Government local.
  • State.
  • Other nonprofits.
  • Individuals.
  • local business.



  • Corporations.
  • Foundations.
  • Government.
  • local (city/county).
  • State.
  • Federal.
  • Individuals.
  • Earned income

    • Fees.
    • Other earned income.