A West Bluff resident and her son will receive the Google high speed fiber network to their home at no cost. Photo courtesy of Google.

A West Bluff resident and her son will receive the Google high speed fiber network to their home at no cost. Photo courtesy of Google.

Google and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Wednesday plans to bring high speed Gigabit Fiber Internet to housing developments nationwide.

The goal is to improve access to the Internet for the nation’s poorest residents and to help children get access to materials online to improve their education and help boost their performance at school.

U.S. HUD Secretary Julian Castro and Google Fiber Vice President Dennis Kish announced that the West Bluff Townhomes in Kensas City, Missouri is the first public housing development to be connected to Google Fiber’s ultra-high speed gigabit Internet free of cost through the ConnectHome Initiative. And during the next several months, gigabit service will be available to another 1,300 public housing units in the Kansas City metro area.

Additionally, Google Fiber will be bringing those high speeds to HUD assisted and affordable housing in all fiber cities, including the ConnectHome fiber cities of Atlanta, GA, Durham, NC, San Antonio, TX and Nashville, TN. No time table was given for the rollout of the service.

ConnectHome is a public-private collaboration to narrow the digital divide for families with school-age children who live in HUD-assisted housing. Through ConnectHome, Internet service providers, non-profits and the private sector will offer broadband access, technical training, digital literacy programs, and devices for residents in assisted housing units in 28 communities across the nation.

“For far too many low-income families, and especially their children, connecting to the Web remains a distant dream,” Castro said. “Knowledge and education are the currency of this 21stCentury economy, and Google Fiber is helping ensure that all children, no matter where they live, have access to the tools they need to be competitive in their schoolwork and close the digital divide.”

“At Google Fiber, we believe that superfast speeds and access to home broadband can move entire communities forward. That’s why we’ve partnered with ConnectHome to bring some of the fastest Internet speeds to those who need it most. Families in these properties will be able to access gigabit Internet service, at no cost to the housing authority or to residents,” Kish said.

Inspired by its early success of the work with the Housing Authority for the City of Austin, Google Fiber is complementing its free gigabit Internet service by working with local partners to make new investments in computer labs and digital literacy classes so residents learn the skills they need to get online.