President Barrack Obama visited Durant, Oklahoma, today and announced the ConnectHome initiative coming to the Choctaw Nation.
ConnectHome is a project by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to bring internet access to low income housing areas. It will debut in 27 cities and the Choctaw Nation and provide low-cost internet to 200,000 children.
Obama said support for the program will come from HUD but also private companies and nonprofits like Cox Communications, Best Buy and the Boys and Girls Club of America.
The Choctaw Nation itself will receive $50,000 grant from the USDA for the training stages of the program.
Obama said internet access is incredibly important in this day and age, and for many people it is still out of reach.
"The internet is not a luxury, it is a necessity," Obama said.
Lacking internet access is causing children across America to become disadvantaged and is creating an opportunity gap, Obama said.
"Our whole country will fall behind unless we have the whole field playing" Obama said.
Obama said it is important that children have internet connections not just in their schools, but also at home because learning takes place as well. He spoke about another program ConnectED, which is on track to provide internet access to 99 percent of America's schools in the next five years.
"A child's ability to succeed should not depend on where she lives or how much money her parents make," Obama said.
Having internet connection at home can make all the difference for many Americans to change their lives for the better, Obama said.
"If we don't get these young people the technology they need for success, then it's all our loss, not just their loss," Obama said.
Obama arrived at Durant High School at 5 p.m. in Marine One, having flown from Denison, Texas.
Choctaw Chief Gary Batton spoke before Obama arrived. He said that the Choctaw Nation felt honored to have the president there.
"I'm very proud to welcome Obama to here, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma." Batton said. He also said the president is a great friend of the Choctaw Nation.
Obama is scheduled to leave Denison, Texas, for Tinker Air Force Base at 7:25 p.m. and land at Tinker at 8:10 p.m., where he is supposed to be greeted by Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and spend the night in Oklahoma City.
Obama will visit the Federal Correctional Facility in El Reno, Okla., on Thursday, making him the first sitting president to do so. After his visit to the prison Obama will fly out of Tinker at 12:45 and return to Washington, D.C..
Contributing writers: Brady Vardeman, Andrew Clark, Dana Branham and Page Jones