For Immediate Release
August 24, 2010
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office
Today, at the Mildred Avenue Community Center, Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced that the City of Boston will use $1.9 million of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for the expansion of the Boston Broadband program. With the funding, the program will provide 627 new computers and job training software for the public at 48 computing centers located in public housing developments, community centers and libraries across the city.
“This grant is a great example of Boston’s continued pursuit of federal stimulus funds,” said Mayor Menino. “I am proud of the city’s effort to take an innovative, multi-agency approach to effectively address the crucial need of digital inclusion for all of our underserved residents.”
The goal of the Boston Broadband program is to have all 627 computers installed at Boston Public Library (BPL) branches, Boston Housing Authority (BHA) developments and Boston Centers for Youth and Families (BCYF) by early 2011. When complete, nearly 18,000 people a week representing a 40-percent increase in service will be able to access broadband internet as well as software designed for various subject matters including workforce development, after school education and gang intervention-conflict resolution workshops.
“This is an investment in business competitiveness, a skilled workforce and a level playing field for technological opportunity,” said Senator John Kerry. “Tom Menino is the country’s most ambitious mayor when it comes to expanding broadband access and I look forward to continuing our work together.”
“These days you often need high-speed Internet access to apply for a job and computer skills to get a good job,” said National Telecommunications and Information Administration Senior Policy Advisor Angela Simpson who attended the event. “This Recovery Act investment will provide Boston residents with the broadband access and technology skills necessary to better compete in today's information economy.”
At the Mildred Avenue Community Center, decade-old computers have been replaced with 15 brand-new state-of-the-art desktops featuring cutting edge software allowing participants to gain basic work skills online, study for the MCAS and access multimedia to produce videos and other art. The first to receive new computers and software, the Mildred Avenue Community Center serves as an example of what the rest of the sites will soon benefit from.
BHA centers will feature similar software as well as programs geared toward health education and computers at local library branches will provide literacy training and email access.
“These federal stimulus funds will give Boston residents increased access to computer technology, including internet training, at locations throughout the city. Students returning to school, those searching for employment and people who need a little help navigating the internet will all benefit from this investment,” said Congressman Mike Capuano.
“The Boston Broadband program will greatly benefit all the neighborhoods of Boston and will allow greater internet access for information, education and commerce,” said Congressman Stephen F. Lynch. “I am happy to see this upgrade and expansion.”
“Access to technology is not a political issue but a participation issue. Mayor Menino understands that the promise for the future of the city lies in the internet’s ability to enhance access to educational opportunities, to foster innovation and to create jobs,” Congressman Edward Markey said. “I thank Mayor Menino for his tremendous efforts to ensure that all Bostonians have a convenient on-ramp to the broadband internet superhighway wherever they are in the city.”
Mayor Menino thanked Senator John Kerry, Congressman Mike Capuano, Congressman Stephen Lynch and Congressman Edward Markey for their continued support and leadership in helping the City of Boston receive this important funding.