Digital Divide

Comcast Reports Internet Essentials Program Helped 3 Million Low-Income Americans

essentials

Comcast’s Internet Essentials program has helped 3 million low-income Americans, or 750,000 families, access low-cost, high-speed internet service at home, according to a five-year progress report the company released today.

Comcast is also providing more than $2 million in grants to community-based organizations that provide digital literacy training and internet access, the company said in a news release.

“In the last five years, we’ve learned that no single company or government program is ever going to fix the digital divide and that solving a big, difficult societal issue like this takes nothing short of a movement,” said David L. Cohen, senior executive vice president and chief diversity officer of Comcast, in a prepared statement. “We are so proud that thousands of community partners around the country have helped us make a meaningful dent in the digital divide.”

Cohen also mentioned that the Internet Essentials program is expanding to HUD-assisted homes over the next five years. The company estimates that up to 2 million HUD-assisted homes are in Comcast’s service area across the country, representing 40 percent of HUD-assisted households.

Since the launch of the Internet Essentials program in 2011, Comcast has also provided more than $300 million in cash and in-kind support to help fund digital literacy training and educational initiatives nationally, the company said in its release. Those efforts have reached nearly 4.4 million people, Comcast said.

Between 2011 and June 2016, Comcast has also:

  • Dedicated more than $1.8 million in grants to create Internet Essentials Learning Zones;
  • Broadcast 8.5 million public service announcements, valued at nearly $110 million;
  • Provided more than 54,000 subsidized computers priced at less than $150 each;
  • Distributed nearly 53 million pieces of Internet Essentials program materials for free;
  • Offered Internet Essentials to more than 55,000 schools in over 5,000 school districts in 39 states and the District of Columbia; and
  • Partnered with more than 9,000 community-based organizations and government agencies and elected officials to spread the word.

The company also announced that Olympic champion Jackie Joyner-Kersee is the new national spokesperson for the program, and she is kicking off a multi-city tour during back-to-school season.

Internet Essentials provides high-speed internet service for $9.95 a month plus tax, as well as the option to purchase an internet-ready computer for less than $150. For more information or to apply for the program, visit InternetEssentials.com or call (855) 846-8376. Spanish speakers may call (855) 765-6995.

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at rchang@1105media.com.

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