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City Gets Help From Google And Comcast To Spread WiFi Access

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray

Seattle's mayor has announced that the city, Comcast and now Google are collaborating to make the Internet more accessible. Mayor Ed Murray revealed an action plan Wednesday for his ongoing Digital Equity Initiative.

Google will pitch in $344,000 in grant money for public housing and community centers in Seattle. That money will pay for home Internet to 800 low-income student as well as new computers or WiFi access.

Hassan Wardere from Horn of Africa Services said this will help his clients. He said the cultural transition could be easier for adult immigrants in particular now that computers and education are more available.

Wardere: "When folks come to this country, there's already a divide. Little kids, it's easy for them to integrate to the American culture, we become Americans really quick. For our parents it's difficult. So this digital divide is an extra piece."

The city commissioned a study on Seattle's so-called digital divide in 2014. It showed that about 15 percent of people in Seattle don't have Internet access at home.

Meanwhile, Comcast has dropped its prices for Internet service for people in public housing. That will help about 5,800 households in Seattle.