The Federal Communications Commission is teaming up with Connect2Compete, Redemtech and the League of United Latin American Citizens to launch a nationwide computer donation and recycling drive known as PC Pledge 100. The initiative is asking each participating corporation to donate at least 100 used computers that would otherwise be headed for landfills. Systems collected will then be refurbished and redistributed to low-income Americans that can't afford a computer or Internet access.

According to Gartner Research, US organizations discard roughly 17 million computers each year so it goes without saying that many companies should be able to spare at least 100 PCs. Donated computers will have minimum specifications of an Intel Core 2 Duo processor or equivalent, 2GB or more of RAM, at least 80GB of storage, an optical drive, Ethernet connection and a Wi-Fi card.

As FCC chairman Julius Genachowski points out, systems with such minimum specifications will likely be considered outdated to most businesses but they would still work perfectly for basic computing and Internet connectivity.

Connect2Compete and Redemtech will be responsible for refurbishing the old computers. The latter organization will wipe the hard drives of all data before installing Windows 7 and a number of productivity applications supplied by Microsoft at a discounted price. The reconfigured machines will then be placed with their new owners.

The program is designed to address the fact that roughly 60 percent of low-income families don't have a computer at home and that 36 percent of Americans without broadband access cite cost as the primary reason.