France May Sell Poor Families Computers, Broadband for a Euro a Day

Low-income French families will be equipped with a computer and an Internet connection for 1 euro ($1.27) a day under a new government proposal.

Families who sign up will receive a computer, a high-speed connection, software and a class on how to use the equipment, officials said Tuesday after an inter-ministerial meeting.

The program is expected to start early next year. Later this year, officials will announce which incomes qualify.

About half of French homes have a home computer — a figure that Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin wants to boost to 68 percent in three years.

Families in the program will contribute financially for three years, the government said.

The program will have both state and private funding, with the state guaranteeing bank loans for families, while Internet providers give sharp discounts for access.

Many details were still being worked out.

The project is in line with the government's "equal opportunity" plan for children from disadvantaged families.

Boosting their prospects has been a main concern since riots swept through France late last year in troubled neighborhoods where many immigrants live with their French-born children.