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Move Over Obamaphone, Now There’s the ObamaNet!

Capitalizing on his huge expansion of the Obamaphone program that gave millions of low-income Americans a free cell phone, President Obama is now angling to give millions of Americans free Internet access.

On Wednesday, Obama announced plans to provide free Internet to some 275,000 low-income families in 28 communities across the country.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program is to work in cooperation with local governments, a group of telecommunications companies, and nonprofits.

“While many middle-class U.S. students go home to Internet access, allowing them to do research, write papers, and communicate digitally with their teachers and other students, too many lower-income children go unplugged every afternoon when school ends,” the White House said in a statement.

“This ‘homework gap’ runs the risk of widening the achievement gap, denying hardworking students the benefit of a technology-enriched education,” the White House added.

The White House website says that the ConnectHome program will “bring broadband, technical assistance, and digital literacy training to students living in public and assisted housing across America. Mayors from Boston to Durham, and from Washington, DC to Seattle, have committed to reallocate local funds, leverage local programming, and use regulatory tools to support this initiative and the expansion of broadband access in low-income communities.”

In addition to the ConnectHome program, Obama directed HUD to make broadband part of its assisted housing mandate going forward.

The 28 cities that will participate in this new program as as follows: Albany, GA; Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Baton Rouge, LA; Boston, MA; Camden, NJ; Choctaw Nation, OK; Cleveland, OH; Denver, CO; Durham, NC; Fresno, CA; Kansas City, MO; Little Rock, AR; Los Angeles, CA; Macon, GA; Memphis, TN; Meriden, CT; Nashville, TN; New Orleans, LA; New York, NY; Newark, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; Rockford, IL; San Antonio, TX; Seattle, WA; Springfield, MA; Tampa, FL; and Washington, DC.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston, or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com.

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