Comcast Kicks Off Year Two of the Groundbreaking Internet Essentials Program Designed to Help Close the Digital Divide in Colorado
Nationally, More Than 100,000 Families or 400,000 Low-Income Americans Have Signed Up
Colorado Increases Program Participants with More Than 5,000 New Families Getting Online
DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Comcast partners with the Colorado Childrens Campaign at their 2012 Annual Luncheon today to announce year two of Internet Essentials, an ambitious and comprehensive broadband adoption program designed to help close the digital divide for low-income Americans. In its first full year of availability, more than 100,000 families or 400,000 Americans are now online and Comcast continues to enhance the program with new features and processes designed to accelerate enrollment in the program.
It is imperative that Colorado become a more digitally connected state so all children have the same opportunities and more adults can find jobs, said Governor John Hickenlooper. Making affordable communications and technology available to low-income families throughout Colorado helps ensure every child can benefit from getting online at home. These kinds of steps will create brighter opportunities for our children and keep Colorado moving forward.
West Division President for Comcast, Steve White added, I am thrilled to announce year two of Internet Essentials in Colorado, making affordable Internet available to even more students and their families. Cities like Denver and Aurora are making a real difference in the lives of students and families who are now able to go online at home and access the wealth of information and learning the Internet has to offer.
New in 2012:
Since Internet Essentials launched, Comcast has made a number of program enhancements including:
- Expanded eligibility criteria to include families with children eligible to receive reduced price school lunches under the National School Lunch Program. This means nearly 300,000 additional households are now eligible for the program, bringing the total to 2.3 million eligible families;
- Doubled broadband speeds to up to 3 Mbps downstream and up to 768 Kbps upstream;
- Upgraded the free Internet safety software to include the Constant Guard Protection Suite, which includes top-rated Norton Security Suite, identity theft protection and more;
- Enriched digital literacy training efforts both online and in-person, including offering a series of short videos, featuring NBC and Telemundo news personalities Al Roker, Kate Snow, Jenna Wolfe and Jose Diaz-Balart, discussing how to use job search tools and social networking sites as well as tips for what parents should know about cyber bullying;
- Streamlined the approval process by providing an instant approval process for all students who attend schools with the highest percentage of NSLP participation, which includes Provision 2 schools;
- Introduced a bulk order program that empowers community-based organizations to purchase Internet Essentials accounts so they can connect the eligible families they serve.
Internet Essentials Program Details:
Internet Essentials addresses three primary barriers to broadband adoption that research has identified a lack of understanding of how the Internet is relevant and useful, the cost of a home computer and the cost of the Internet service. Program participants receive:
- Residential Internet service for $9.95 a month plus applicable taxes;
- No price increases, no activation fees, or equipment rental fees;
- A voucher to purchase a low-cost computer for $149.99 plus tax; and
- Access to free digital literacy training in print, online and in-person.
A household is eligible to participate if it meets all of the following criteria:
- Is located where Comcast offers Internet service;
- Has at least one child who is eligible to receive a free or reduced school lunch under the NSLP;
- Has not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days;
- Does not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment.
Comcast will sign up eligible families in the program for at least three years, through the end of the 2013-2014 school year. Any household that qualifies during this three-year period will remain eligible for Internet Essentials if at least one child eligible for a free or reduced lunch remains living in the household.
In Colorado, Comcast is working with a growing network of more than 100 community-based organizations, school districts, faith-based organizations, elected officials and others to spread the word about Internet Essentials and provide digital literacy training. In addition, since inception, Comcast has sponsored or participated in nearly 50 events to spread the word to those who could benefit from Internet Essentials.
Through our partnership with Aurora Public Library, Comcast is sponsoring free Internet and computer training classes at the Aurora Central Library for families to learn important Internet and digital literacy skills. Comcasts donation will total more than $10,000 to Aurora Public Library to further their mission of providing computer skills and essential knowledge through hands-on computer training classes.
Aurora Public Librarys partnership with Comcast helps accomplish many important goals in serving the citizens of our community, said Steve Wasiecko, Operations Manager for the City of Auroras Department of Library & Cultural Services. The trainings give people a chance to learn skills that are critically important today, and to understand how to best take advantage of all the Internet has to offer. The library provides an on-going training and computer access point, and the Internet Essentials program helps make home Internet service more affordable and accessible for low-income families in our city.
For general information about Internet Essentials, please visit www.internetessentials.com for English and visit www.internetbasico.com for Spanish. 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 or, for Spanish, 1-855-765-6995.
About Comcast Corporation (CMCSA):
Comcast Corporation (www.comcast.com) is one of the nation's leading providers of entertainment, information and communications products and services. Comcast is principally involved in the operation of cable systems through Comcast Cable and in the development, production and distribution of entertainment, news, sports and other content for global audiences through NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is one of the nation's largest video, high-speed Internet and phone providers to residential and business customers. Comcast is the majority owner and manager of NBCUniversal, which owns and operates entertainment and news cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, local television station groups, television production operations, a major motion picture company and theme parks.
Cindy Parsons, 303-888-8550
Source: Comcast CorporationCopyright Business Wire 2012