FCC chairman applauds Comcast for low-cost Internet program

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Genachowski made the remarks at the program's national launch at Ballou High School in Southeast D.C.

The plan offers high-speed Internet service for $9.95 and a "netbook-style laptop" computer for $149.99. Only low-income families with school-age children are eligible for the program. Comcast agreed to offer the plan in order to secure regulatory approval of its merger with NBC Universal earlier this year.

Genachowsk said poor Internet access hurts children's ability to learn. He cited one example of a girl who had to do her homework in the library parking lot in order to use the library's wireless connection.

"When roughly one-third of American kids are offline, it hurts all students," he said.

Genachowski said because many companies post their jobs online, lacking Internet access can also hurt people's ability to find a job.

"Being connected at home not only allows you to search for jobs, it can also help you develop basic skills — like how to upgrade and upload your resume online," he said. "Every high-school graduate in the U.S. should be digitally literate, but we're not there."

Genachowski challenged other service providers to take "concrete steps to promote broadband adoption."