$100M to plug digital gap – Clinton unveil high-tech gifts

President Clinton says high-tech companies will donate $100 million in computer services and training to low income communities that have been excluded from the information economy, Reuters reports.

Clinton made his announcement in East Palo Alto, a community in the heart of Silicon Valley that struggles in the midst of the area’s economic boom.

Kicking off his two-day trip to call attention to the digital divide between those with tech access and those without, Clinton said Gateway Inc. will pay for technology training for 75,000 teachers throughout the U.S. 

Other corporate contributions include $20 million in software from Novell Inc. to nonprofits that support disadvantaged Hispanics and a $25 million gift from Qualcomm to bridge the digital divide in San Diego. 

Clinton issued a plea to young people to become computer literate — but when a child asked him about his own computer use, he admitted he did not use e-mail much, Reuters says.

The trip is Clinton’s third to attract investment in areas of high unemployment in spite of the lowest unemployment rates in decades in the U.S., Reuters says.

Low employment is often linked to tech access: In U.S. households with incomes less than $25,000, 68 percent do not have access to the Internet. 

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