The move is intended to help bridge the gap between white people and blacks
and Hispanics in technical savvy and access to the Internet.
“The technological segregation known as the digital divide must be narrowed,”
NAACP President Kweisi Mfume told the Associated Press.
AT&T will provide hardware, software and on-site support for technology in
“The centers will be open after the school doors close so parents and
children can learn computer usage together,” Mfume said. “The old and the
young learning together will help reduce that divide.”
An AT&T spokesman said that sites for the centers will include Baltimore,
Dallas, Miami, New York, Philadelphia and Seattle, among other locations.
Ameritech Corp. and the National Urban League announced last week they will
spend $350,000 to build five new Internet community centers in Aurora, IL
Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis and Milwaukee. And 3Com Corp. said it will
spend $1 million in donated equipment and training in 10 cities to help teach
students to be computer network engineers.
Last week, a Commerce Department report, “Falling
Through the Net,” said the disparity on the Internet between whites and black
and Hispanic Americans is growing.
The report found about 47 percent of all whites own computers, but fewer than
half as many blacks do. About 25.5 percent of Hispanics own computers, but 55
percent of Asian-Americans do. Asian families also are most likely to have
Internet access, with 36 percent online.