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FCC, Federal Housing Agency Collaborate on Digital Literacy

Two federal agencies are unveiling plans today to collaborate on a major effort that they say will bring greater broadband access to families and children in public housing.

The Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Thursday are expected to announce a digital literacy initiative, in which HUD will join Connect2Compete, a national effort to expand broadband.

As part of the partnership, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, and other participants in the effort will offer details on plans for the housing agency to take part in Connect2Compete's digital network of libraries, nonprofits, and community center.

The C2C will start providing free digital literacy training at the organization's partner facilities, which will include HUD neighbohood network centers. The initial effort will focus on communities in Chicago, Detroit, Miami, Philadelphia, St. Paul, Minn., and Washington, with plans to expand to more cities later this year.

Federal officials will provide more details on the announcement at a livestreamed event today at 2 p.m., which can be viewed at fcc.gov/live.

The FCC is an independent U.S. government agency overseen by Congress that regulates interstate and international communications in radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable across the United States. The Department of Housing and Urban Development is devoted to trying to provide access to affordable housing. Federal officials say HUD serves more than four million families in public housing, including two million children.

As part of the effort, HUD staff and volunteeers will work to raise awareness in the communities they serve about C2C, and public housing authorities and other agency-funded organizations will attempt to increase understanding of overall digital literacy. More details will be posted on the Digital Education blog as they come in.

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