Secretary of State Kate Brown, Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen, Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt, Portland Public Schools Superintendent Carole Smith and Hank Fore, Regional Senior Vice President of Comcast in Oregon and SW Washington today launched Internet Essentials at Roosevelt High School in Portland, an ambitious and comprehensive broadband adoption experiment. It's the first program to address three of the primary barriers to broadband adoption that research has identified - 1) a lack of understanding of how the Internet is relevant and useful; 2) the cost of a home computer, and 3) the cost of the Internet service. Available to low-income families in Oregon and SW Washington with children who are eligible to receive free lunches under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the goal of Internet Essentials is to help close the digital divide and ensure more Americans benefit from all the Internet has to offer.
In addition to announcing the Internet Essentials Program, Portland Public Schools Superintendent Carole Smith will also announce the One to One program at Roosevelt High School. This program, in conjunction with a grant from the Mt. Hood Cable Regulatory Commission, will work to bridge the digital divide at Portland's Roosevelt High School.
Roosevelt High School is blazing a trail for PPS with the purchase of iPads that enable students and staff to have "anytime-anywhere" access to curriculum and collaboration tools. The school bought 320 iPads for all teachers and key support staff, along with iPads on mobile carts for student use at school. In fall 2012, every student will be assigned an iPad.
"While America has increasingly become a digital nation, many low-income Oregon and SW Washington families are being left at a disadvantage because they don't have Internet service at home. Comcast is leading the charge in making broadband adoption a reality for more families," said Jeff Cogen, Chair, Multnomah County. "Multnomah County is proud to pledge our support, but we can't do this alone. We need parents, educators, community leaders and other government officials to join in this effort, spread the word and help increase broadband adoption in our communities."
According to David L. Cohen, Comcast Corporation Executive Vice President, "The Internet is a great equalizer and a life-changing technology. Internet Essentials helps level the playing field for low-income families by connecting students online with their teachers and their school's educational resources and by enabling parents to receive digital literacy training so they can do things like apply for jobs online or use the Internet to learn more about healthcare and government services available where they live."
Internet Essentials participants will receive:
Residential Internet service for $9.95 a month;
No price increases, no activation fees, or equipment rental fees;
A voucher to purchase a low-cost computer for $149.99 + tax;
Access to free digital literacy training in print, online or in person.
Additional benefits include a 30-day money back guarantee and a complementary Norton™ Security Suite ($160 value) for comprehensive online security protection.
A household is eligible to participate in the Internet Essentials program if it meets all of the following criteria:
Is located where Comcast offers Internet service;
Has at least one child eligible to receive a free school lunch under the NSLP;
(As an example, according to the Department of Agriculture, a household of three would have to make less than $25,000 a year in income);
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 and through the end of the 2013-2014 school year. Any household that qualifies during this three-year period will remain eligible for Internet Essentials provided the household still qualifies for the program until that child graduates from high school.
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.
In Oregon and SW Washington, Comcast also supports One Economy, Boys and Girls Clubs, Native American Youth and Family Association, the Portland Urban League and many other nonprofits in their digital literacy initiatives and provides courtesy Internet services to libraries and schools throughout Oregon and SW Washington.
About Comcast Cable:
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq:CMCSA - News) (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.