Cox Communications commits $60M to help those who need quality internet access during pandemic


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — The pandemic has created new challenges for students, especially those who don’t have internet access at home, but Cox Communications is working to bridge that learning gap.

They’re calling it the “digital divide” and they’re making a $60 million commitment to continue their efforts over the next year.

“Connection, it’s more important than ever before and when it comes to our kids and learning, that connection is critical,” said Cox Communications CEO Pat Esser.

Esser says they see the digital divide issue in two parts.

First, making sure their network has the capacity to serve the communities and second, making sure those with the greatest need have access to the internet.

In the past five months, he says they’ve experienced the equivalent of two years of traffic growth on their network.

He says through their “Connect2Compete” program, they have been helping hundreds of thousands of families in government assistance programs get access to reliable internet.

He also says they worked on a solution to make it easier for teachers and students to get quickly connected in bulk through the Cox Cares Act Solutions for Education Program.

Through the program, they work directly with schools to fast-track connections.

“We recognize first it’s a difficult time for our schools and it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. We have to be able to adapt community by community to help our schools accomplish what they want to achieve,” said Esser.

He says that service is already up and running with hundreds of schools with the service operating today — and they anticipate getting more set up in the next few weeks.

Cox officials say they are urging families and school districts in need to reach out to them for help.

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