Comcast Corporation Chairman and CEO Brian L. Roberts and Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter today announced the launch of Internet Essentials, a program which provides families in Philadelphia with children who are eligible to receive free lunches under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) with low-cost Internet service, affordable computers and digital literacy training. The goal of Internet Essentials is to help close the digital divide and ensure more Americans benefit from all the Internet has to offer. The program addresses what research has identified as the three primary barriers to broadband adoption- 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 Internet service.
"The launch of Internet Essentials across the United States and in Philadelphia is one of the most important community projects that I have ever been involved with at Comcast," said Mr. Roberts. "There is no doubt that the Internet is a great equalizer and life-changing technology and being connected to the Internet is critically important to society, our youth and our future. This program can help low-income American families get online so they can take advantage of all the Internet has to offer."
"Digital literacy is a defining issue of our time," said Mayor Nutter. "Internet and computer access contributes to the education, career progression and innovation of Philadelphia's citizens. I would like to thank Comcast for their dedication to narrowing the digital divide in our city. The Internet Essentials program provides an invaluable service to the children and families who will benefit the most from affordable Internet access."
According to David L. Cohen, Comcast Corporation Executive Vice President, "Internet Essentials helps level the playing field for low-income families by connecting students online with their teachers and their schools' educational resources. The program will enable 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."
Today, during an Internet Essentials launch event at the Salvation Army Kroc Community Center in Nicetown, Mr. Roberts, Mr. Cohen and Mayor Nutter were joined by School District of Philadelphia Acting Superintendent and Chief Executive Dr. Leroy David Nunery II, Pennsylvania's Secretary of Education, Ron Tomalis, school officials, city leaders and community organizations.
"Comcast's effort to bridge the digital divide for Philadelphia students is extremely encouraging," said Dr. Nunery. "Now more than ever, access to assignments, grades and other classroom information is offered online and those who can tap into home computers and the Web are at a distinct advantage. We thank Comcast for making a difference in many students' lives."
Internet Essentials participants will receive:
Residential Internet service for $9.95 a month + applicable taxes;
No price increases, no activation fees, or equipment rental fees;
A voucher to purchase a low-cost computer for $149.99 + tax; and
Access to free digital literacy training in print, online and in person.
Additional benefits include the Norton™ Security Suite ($160 value) for comprehensive online security protection at no additional cost.
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 who is 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, 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 a child eligible for a free lunch remains living in the household.
In Philadelphia, Comcast is working with a growing network of community based organizations to spread the word about Internet Essentials and provide digital literacy training. Those organizations include the Freedom Rings Partnership, a collaboration of The City of Philadelphia; Drexel University; the Urban Affairs Coalition (UAC); and grassroots organizations working to bring Internet access, training and technology to low-income communities across Philadelphia.
For general information about Internet Essentials, visit www.internetessentials.com for English or 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.
Comcast is also a proud supporter of Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Boys and Girls Club, the Honickman Learning Center as well as the Police Athletic League. In addition, the Company provides courtesy Internet services to libraries and community centers throughout the City of Philadelphia.
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.