SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Adine Deford, Cynthia Dunlop, Harry Trott, Xenia von Wedel, Peter Silva

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Cox Communications Makes Crossing the Digital Divide Easier with Launch of Connect2Compete Internet

Nationwide broadband adoption effort seeks to enhance educational opportunities for youth

TUCSON, Ariz. and ATLANTA, April 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Flanked by education leaders, elected officials and Cox Communications officials and before a crowd of 100 teachers and students at Los Amigos Technology Academy, Yvonne Gomez shared her family's story of how broadband Internet has benefited her children's education.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130423/CL00353 )

"My children do everything on their laptops. It is a relief to have access to Internet to help with their homework or research and they can help me with my own work. As a single parent, a program like this is a big financial help," said Gomez, who is a mother to four boys ages 17, 13, 12 and 8; all students in the Sunnyside School District.

"I returned to college some time after graduating high school and we never used computers when I was a student. When my professor asked me to make a PowerPoint I had no idea what to do," added Gomez, who currently works as an attendance clerk at Los Amigos Technology Academy. "My son, who was in third grade at the time, said to me 'Mom, I know what a PowerPoint is—I can help.' Having Internet access at home and access to this technology gives my boys the tools that they need to be successful and has allowed them to show me what to do. What more could a mom ask for?"

According to the Pew Research Center, less than half of low-income K-12 students across America have broadband at home compared to more than 90 percent of higher-income families.  What's more, nearly 30% of all Americans – approximately 100 million people – risk becoming increasingly isolated from contemporary life because they lack the Internet service and the skills necessary to use it effectively.

These and other startling statistics are the impetus for Connect2Compete, a national not-for-profit initiative aiming to bring students and families online by providing discounted high-speed Internet, low-cost computers and free digital literacy training to families.

Cox Communications has partnered with Connect2Compete to offer discounted Internet service to low-income families with children who qualify for the National Free School Lunch program. Cox is offering its Starter Cox High Speed Internet service to eligible families for $9.95 per month for two years, including free installation and modem rental fees.

"Cox has a legacy of reaching into the communities that we serve and partnering to address important issues.  By giving students the access to technology we are removing barriers that will open up the world to them," said Lisa Lovallo, Market Vice President, Cox Communications Southern Arizona. 

Broadband Adoption Legacy

"Cox has a long history of supporting broadband adoption programs across the country, and doing so in a way that connects the most vulnerable members of our society - our children - so they can compete and have a greater chance of success in the digital world that awaits them," said Cox Communications President Pat Esser.

Cox first partnered Connect2Compete in April 2012, rolling out the discounted Internet offer to eligible families in San Diego, CA. In the fall of that year, it expanded the program to five additional markets, closing the divide for families and children in Macon, GA; Providence, RI; New Orleans, Lafayette and Baton Rouge, LA; and Oklahoma City, OK.

Broadband adoption programs have been an important part of Cox's legacy. In fact, the Connect2Compete program is modeled after a broadband adoption program in Santa Barbara, CA that Cox has participated in since 2002. The company's broadband adoption support also includes a program it rolled out two years ago in the Sunnyside Unified School District, including families with children attending Los Amigos Technology Academy where today's ceremony took place. 

"No one organization or company can make this all happen on their own.  It takes many partners to make a broadband adoption program possible. The Connect2Compete program does this by bringing together the top companies like Cox Communications and experts across industries to put a working computer with broadband service directly into the homes of students - making it easily accessible whenever the student needs it and thus, increasing learning opportunities," said Zach Leverenz, CEO of Connect2Compete.

"We are well into the information age. Access to technology as an information delivery system is no longer a luxury—it's a necessity. An information divide is the equivalent of an educational divide—and we need to close that divide to ensure that all of our students have access to a world-class education," added Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal. "Connect2Compete understands this need and is working to close that divide. We are proud to support this effort."

Cox's Connect2Compete initiative will be promoted through schools in the communities it serves, as well as through non-profit organizations such as LULAC and the National Urban League who also are supporting Connect2Compete.

For more information on Cox's Connect2Compete offer, visit www.connect2compete.org/Cox.

About Connect2Compete

Connect2Compete (C2C) is a national nonprofit that aims to eliminate the digital divide by making high-speed, low-cost Internet, computers, and free digital literacy accessible to all unconnected Americans. Technology and digital skills are essential to ensure future generations can compete in the global economy and to prepare them for the 21st century workforce. C2C aims to leverage the democratizing power of the Internet to provide opportunity to all Americans – regardless of age, race, geography, income, or education level. For more information, please visit www.connect2compete.org.

About Cox Communications

Cox Communications is a broadband communications and entertainment company, providing advanced digital video, Internet and telephone services over its own nationwide IP network. The third-largest U.S. cable TV company, Cox serves approximately 6 million residences and businesses. Cox Business is a facilities-based provider of voice, video and data solutions for commercial customers, and Cox Media is a full-service provider of national and local cable spot and new media advertising.

Cox is known for its pioneering efforts in cable telephone and commercial services, industry-leading customer care and its outstanding workplaces. For seven years, Cox has been recognized as the top operator for women by Women in Cable Telecommunications; Cox has ranked among DiversityInc's Top 50 Companies for Diversity seven times, including the last six years. More information about Cox Communications, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, is available at www.cox.com and www.coxmedia.com.

SOURCE Cox Communications

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