Comcast cites progress of effort to close digital divide

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AFP FILE PHOTO

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Comcast released the second progress report on its Internet Essentials program, the company’s major effort at  connecting lower-income Americans to the Internet.

“In just 16 months, Internet Essentials has helped put a real dent in the digital divide and connected more than 150,000 low-income families, or 600,000 Americans, to the power of the Internet, most for the first time in their lives,” said Comcast Executive VP David L. Cohen. “That’s approximately the entire population of Washington, D.C. or Boston,” Cohen added.

Internet Essentials is the nation’s largest, most comprehensive broadband adoption initiative designed to help close the digital divide.

“When it comes to education, the Internet has changed everything,” said Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho. Children, he said, can do research for their homework, and parents get connected to their child’s school to monitor grades and see their child’s development, Carvalho added.

The 2nd Annual Internet Essentials Progress Report covers key program milestones through the end of 2012 milestones, a number of program enhancements and a new award designed to honor top-performing school districts.  Milestones include:

  • Printed and shipped more than 25 million pieces of collateral material for free.
  • Fielded more than one million phone calls in dedicated Internet Essentials call center.
  • Distributed more than 15,000 computers at less than $150 each.
  • Trained 10,000 people in-person about digital literacy and how to use the Internet.
  • Received more than 800,000 visitors to the Internet Essentials and Internet Basico websites.
  • Partnered with almost 7,000 community-based organizations; government agencies and federal, state and local elected officials.

Comcast’s Internet Essentials is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program.  It provides low-cost broadband service for $9.95 a month plus tax; the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for under $150; and multiple options to access free digital literacy training in print, online, and in-person.

Qualified families must have at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program, including public, parochial, private and home school students.  An estimated total of 2.6 million eligible families live in Comcast’s service area and could apply for Internet Essentials.

Comcast will sign up eligible families in the program through the end of the 2013-2014 school year.  These households will remain eligible as long as one child eligible for a free or reduced lunch remains living in the household.

For general information about Internet Essentials, visit www.internetessentials.com for English. Educators or third-parties interested in helping to spread the word can find more information at www.internetessentials.com/partner. Parents looking to enroll in the program can call 1-855-846-8376.

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