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Richmond's poorer neighborhoods get free Internet

RICHMOND, Calif. (AP) -- Many residents of one San Francisco Bay area city are online for the first time thanks to a grant-funded program to expand free high-speed Internet to low-income areas.

The Contra Costa Times reports (http://bit.ly/1psxpQF ) about 400 houses are getting a wireless Internet signal from a new 40-foot tower in Richmond's Iron Triangle neighborhood.

The free service is made possible by Building Blocks for Kids, a collaborative of government agencies, nonprofit groups and local leaders. The program is funded by a grant from the California Emerging Technology Fund aimed at increasing digital literacy among poor people.

Resident Yolanda Lopez tells the newspaper her neighbors are thankful because many can't afford the $50 per month for an Internet service subscription.

On Tuesday, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors expressed interest in expanding the free Internet countywide.

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Information from: Contra Costa Times, http://www.contracostatimes.com

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