Facebook Takes Steps to Connect Those Without Internet Access

The company provides grants, disease prevention maps to ITDRC, NetHope

3.5 billion people globally and over 18 million Americans lack reliable internet access graphicnoi/iStock
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Facebook is taking steps to address the 3.5 billion people globally and over 18 million Americans who lack reliable internet access, revealing Wednesday that it is teaming up with the Information Technology Disaster Resource Center and NetHope to focus on the communities that have been most affected by Covid-19.

The social network said in its ongoing News Feed post about the coronavirus pandemic that it will provide a $2 million grant to support the ITDRC’s projectConnect initiative in its efforts to bring internet access to rural and underserved communities in the U.S.

Facebook will also share insights from its disease prevention maps to help the ITDRC gain a better understanding of available options in certain regions and better determine the types of support that are needed.

NetHope will get a $260,000 grant and similar access to the social network’s disease prevention maps to identify vulnerable and affected communities worldwide, including migrants and refugees, and provide them with protective health equipment and internet connectivity kits.

Facebook wrote, “The goal of these partnerships is to better understand the unique barriers these communities face in getting online and create the programs and infrastructure needed to increase the availability and affordability of high-quality internet access.”

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.