Newark, Camden to get high-speed Internet under federal program

By Jonathan D. Salant | NJ Advance Media for
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on July 15, 2015

President Barack Obama visits The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Camden, Monday, May 18, 2015. Obama spoke about Camden and its designation as a promise zone, which allows the city to use grants and other federal help to address issues such as crime, health and jobs.


WASHINGTON — Newark and Camden are two of the 27 U.S. cities and one Indian nation to get high-speed Internet connections under a program being announced Wednesday by President Obama.

The communities were chosen through a competitive basis by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Known as ConnectHome, the program includes both private and public support for broadband connections, plus training and educational software.

While most low-income households have computers, they don't have Internet access at home, and the program at the beginning is designed to bring broadband connections to 275,000 families, including nearly 200,000 children.

Maps provided by the White House showed that less than two-thirds of residents were hooked up to the Internet in Camden County areas with an average annual income below $54,000. More than 84 percent of households in areas of Northern New Jersey with an average annual income exceeding $90,000 were connected.

Obama officially will announce the program on a visit to Durant, Okla., part of the Choctaw Nation, which also will participate.

The president visited Camden in May to highlight the city's efforts to reduce the crime rate through such steps as putting more police on the streets and developing relationships between the officers and residents of the communities they are sworn to protect. The visit came at a time of tensions nationwide following the deaths of several unarmed men at the hands of police in communities such as Ferguson, Mo., and North Charleston, S.C.

New York and Philadelphia are also among the communities selected for the broadband program. Other communities include: Albany, Ga.; Atlanta; Baltimore; Baton Rouge, La.; Boston; Cleveland; Denver;  Durham, N.C.; Fresno, Calif.; Kansas City, Mo.; Little Rock, Ark; Los Angeles; Macon, Ga.; Memphis, Tenn.; Meriden, Conn.; Nashville, Tenn.; New Orleans; Rockford, Ill.; San Antonio; Seattle; Springfield, Mass; Tampa, Fla; and Washington.

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