Mexican telecom entrepreneur Carlos Slim Helu's Carlos Slim Foundation has donated $3 million to the government-industry Connect2Compete broadband adoption effort.
Helu, who topped the most recent Forbes 400 list as the world's richest man ($69 billion), will also be part of the Connect2Compete governing board.
The money will go to helping fund the bilingual Ad Council PSA campaign announced last week, as well as operational support.
The contribution was announced Thursday in San Diego, where FCC chairman Julius Genachowski spoke at a Connect2Compete kickoff event at the Horace Mann Middle School. There, the Connect2Compete is offering eligible families in six school districts low-cost, high-speed broadband and low-cost laptops.
"This past fall, I joined leading cable companies, technology companies, and non-profits to announce the Connect2Compete initiative -- an unprecedented public-private partnership to promote broadband adoption," the chairman said, according to his office. "Thanks to continued follow through, here we are -- 6 months later -- to announce the launch of the first Connect2Compete pilot program. It will offer 39,000 San Diego families high-speed Internet service and high-powered computers at dramatically discounted prices. "
Genachowski praised Cox CEO Pat Esser. "[He has] long been a leader on promoting digital opportunity," the chairman said. "Without Pat's early initiative, Connect2Compete simply wouldn't have been possible."
Also participating in the event and getting praise from Genachowski, was Dave Bialis, senior vice president and general manager of Cox California.
"Connect2Compete's efforts can increase the adoption of broadband in the U.S. and connect families through technology across borders, while promoting innovative uses of broadband and technology that help better education, create jobs, promote development and increase access to health care," Helu said in a statement. "By 2015, we need to give broadband access to all through landline or mobile at home and work and in public digital libraries."
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