Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, U.S. Congressman John Lewis, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and David L. Cohen, Comcast Corporation Executive Vice President, today launched Internet Essentials, an ambitious and comprehensive broadband adoption program. Available to 317,000 low-income families with children eligible to receive a free lunch under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) in 28 metro-Atlanta area school districts, 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 Internet Essentials program addresses three 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.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal said, "The state of Georgia remains committed to supporting our educational system in every way possible, and this new program is an excellent example of such an effort. The Internet is no longer a dispensable item - it's essential' in almost every aspect of our lives from our education to our careers. It's imperative that Georgia businesses follow in the footsteps of Comcast and continue to find new and creative ways to enhance the learning experience for our state's future leaders."
"While America has increasingly become a digital nation, many low-income metro-Atlanta 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 Atlanta Mayor Reed. "The city of Atlanta 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 community."
According to David L. Cohen, Comcast Corporation Executive Vice President, "The Internet has the potential to be a great equalizer and a life-changing technology. Internet Essentials will help level the playing field for low-income families by connecting students online with their teachers and their school's educational resources as well as 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 plus applicable taxes;
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 and in-person.
Additional benefits include the Norton™ Security Suite ($160 value), which provides comprehensive online security protection at no additional charge.
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.
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 Atlanta, Comcast also supports One Economy as well as Boys and Girls Clubs and provides courtesy Internet services to libraries and community centers throughout the metro-Atlanta area.
About Comcast Corporation
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.