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PROVIDENCE

Poor R.I. families to get cheap Web access

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Low-income families in Rhode Island are eligible for reduced-price computers and Internet access through a new program that aims to eliminate digital disadvantages of growing up poor. The initiative, announced Wednesday, is a joint effort by Cox Communications and Connect2Compete, a national nonprofit that works to bridge what it calls the digital divide. Under the program, families with at least one child receiving free school lunches can get an Internet connection at a cost of $9.95 per month and can buy refurbished computers for $150 and laptops for $199. About 29 percent of households in Rhode Island lack access to the Internet. Connect2Compete’s chief operating officer, Brian Vahaly, said children without Internet access are at a distinct disadvantage with peers who can use the Internet to complete homework assignments.

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