Today, Comcast announced that in five years, nearly 33,000 families in Colorado, or nearly 132,000 Colorado residents, have signed up for Internet Essentials. In Denver, 8,000 families, or 32,000 residents, have been connected. Nationally, Internet Essentials has connected 750,000 families, or 3 million Americans, to the internet at home.
In addition, in July, Comcast expanded the program’s eligibility to households receiving HUD-housing assistance, including public housing, Housing Choice Voucher, and Multifamily programs. There are nearly 50,000 HUD-assisted households in Colorado that stand to benefit from this expansion, and up to 2 million in Comcast’s service area across the country. This accounts for approximately 40 percent of all its households, according to HUD. Now even more individuals, including seniors and veterans, can apply for the program.
The company also announced a grant of $100,000 to the Denver Housing Authority (DHA) to upgrade the technology equipment and resources available in five "Internet Essentials Technology Hubs" located in DHA Opportunity Centers. The donation will also enable the Tech Hubs to host digital literacy training and computer classes, in person and virtually, for more than 17,000 DHA households.
David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast Corporation, made these announcements today alongside Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Olympic Medalist and Internet Essentials Spokesperson Jackie Joyner-Kersee, HUD Region VIII Director Rick Garcia, and DHA Executive Director Ismael Guerrero.
"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 Cohen. "We are proud that thousands of elected officials and community partners in Colorado and nationwide have helped us make a meaningful dent in the digital divide. With the recent announcement of the expansion of Internet Essentials to HUD-assisted homes, we look forward to bringing this essential connection to even more families in Denver and across the country over the next five years. There is still more good work to do."
"Internet Essentials is a phenomenal investment in our community as access to home internet is becoming more and more critical to our daily lives, something many of us take for granted. We thank Comcast for stepping up for our underserved families," said Mayor Hancock. "By expanding low-cost internet access to deserving families, we are bridging the digital divide and investing in a public-private partnership that will have enduring positive impacts in our community."
"The partnership with Comcast has allowed us to accelerate the launch of our new Technology Hubs, DHA’s modern computer resource centers. Their support provides for the purchase of new computers, cutting edge software, large Smart Boards for course instruction, color printers, and scanners, and much more," said Guerrero. "Ultimately, our Technology Hubs will help bridge the digital divide for the over 17,000 DHA households in Denver, as well as residents of the surrounding communities."
Cohen and Joyner-Kersee’s visit to Denver is part of a multi-city back-to-school tour where the company will announce more than $2 million in grants to community-based organizations that provide vital digital literacy training and internet access.
"Both in my athletic career and in the days since then, I’ve tried to inspire young people to commit to hard work in both academics and athletics," said Joyner-Kersee. "While growing up playing sports, all I ever wanted was a level playing field, a fair competition where those who had put in the hard work had a chance to shine. I’m proud to represent Internet Essentials because this program helps level the playing field for all families by connecting them to the power of the internet at home. Internet Essentials gives every child the chance to develop their fullest potential and reach for their dreams, whatever those dreams may be."
Today’s announcements come on the heels of the release of a comprehensive Internet Essentials Five Year Progress Report, which includes significant new milestones highlighting the program’s impact on the lives of its customers since its launch in 2011.
National Internet Essentials Investments
Since 2011, Comcast has invested more than $300 million in cash and in-kind support to fund digital literacy initiatives nationally, reaching nearly 4.4 million people through national and local nonprofit community partners. Additional key program milestones and facts through June 2016 include:
Dedicated more than $1.8 million in grants to create Internet Essentials Learning Zones, where networks of nonprofit partners are working together to enhance public Internet access and increase family-focused digital literacy training in Atlanta, Baltimore Chicago, Denver, Fresno, and Seattle, among others.
Broadcast 8.5 million public service announcements, valued at nearly $110 million.
Provided more than 54,000 subsidized computers at less than $150 each.
Distributed nearly 53 million pieces of Internet Essentials program material for free.
Welcomed more than 6.4 million visitors to the Internet Essentials English and Spanish websites, and its Online Learning Center.
Fielded more than 4.4 million phone calls to our Internet Essentials call center.
Offered Internet Essentials to more than 55,000 schools in more than 5,000 school districts in 39 states and the District of Columbia.
Partnered with over 9,000 community-based organizations, government agencies, and federal, state, and local elected officials to spread the word.