As students settle in to the new school year, Comcast is helping to close the digital divide and get more Americans connected to the Internet at home through its Internet Essentials program. In the first 22 months of the program, Internet Essentials has connected more than 220,000 low-income families nationwide – including more than 5,000 families in the greater Washington, D.C. area alone - to affordable broadband Internet service for less than $10 per month. Internet Essentials also offers qualified families the opportunity to purchase low-cost, Internet-ready computers and gain access to free digital literacy education materials and resources.
The momentum of Internet Essentials continues to increase. Last year, more than 60 percent more families across the Washington, D.C. area enrolled in Internet Essentials as compared to 2011. Nationwide, Internet Essentials has enrolled upwards of 50,000 new families every six months since the program’s launch. In the first six months of 2013, 70,000 new families signed up.
In addition, Comcast has distributed more than 18,000 subsidized computers and provided digital literacy training to nearly 20,000 people. Comcast has also partnered with nearly 7,000 community organizations, agencies and officials to help spread the word about Internet Essentials.
In addition, for the second time in two years, Comcast has increased its broadband speeds for Internet Essentials to up to 5 Mbps downstream and up to 1 Mbps upstream. Comcast has also expanded the instant approval process to families with children that attend schools where 70 percent or more of the students are eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Students at private schools, parochial schools and home schools, in addition to public and charter school students, are also now eligible to take advantage of Internet Essentials.
To qualify for Internet Essentials, a family must live in an area where Comcast provides service and have at least one child eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch through the NSLP. Families must not have subscribed to Comcast Internet service in the past 90 days or have an overdue service bill or unreturned equipment.
To learn more about Internet Essentials or to enroll, visit InternetEssentials.com (1-855-846-8376) or InternetBasico.com (1-855-765-6995) for Spanish language materials. Educators, community groups or civic leaders wishing to learn more about sharing Internet Essentials information with their constituents should visit partner.internetessentials.com.