Today, at the Langley Education Campus in Washington, D.C., FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced that a coalition of cable Internet Service Providers, equipment manufacturers, and nonprofit groups committed to address major barriers to broadband adoption by giving eligible low-income households access to specially-priced high-speed Internet service and access to low-cost computer equipment. This effort is part of the recently announced Connect to Compete (C2C) initiative — an unprecedented public-private effort organized by the FCC to address the barriers to broadband adoption, digital literacy, and the employment skills gap. Together with Comcast, through our Internet Essentials program which was launched over this past summer throughout Comcast's 39-state footprint, the cable companies who have committed to participate in C2C will reach 86 percent of the country's households.

Increasing broadband adoption has been a key priority for the FCC. Chairman Genachowski has long been an advocate for bridging the digital divide and working with the private sector and non-profit groups to accomplish this important goal. Numerous studies have shown that the three major reasons why about a third of Americans haven't yet adopted broadband at home are issues related to digital literacy, the cost of equipment, and the cost of broadband. On October 12, the Chairman, in cooperation with a host of private sector companies and nonprofit groups, announced a comprehensive digital literacy initiative. That effort, along with today's announcement, represent an important step towards helping to close the digital divide and ensuring more Americans benefit from all the Internet has to offer.

Comcast relied on the same key research findings as C2C as we conceived our comprehensive broadband adoption program — Internet Essentials. We understood that in order to attack the adoption gap effectively, we had to address all components of the problem: digital literacy, cost of service and cost of hardware. For this reason, Internet Essentials includes a $9.95 broadband service — with no modem or installation fees, the option to purchase a computer for $149.99, and access to online, print, and in-person digital literacy training opportunities.

At the start of the 2012-2013 school year, C2C effort announced today will feature a $9.95 per month high-speed cable Internet service for households with at least one child receiving a free lunch under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). In addition, eligible households will have the option to purchase a refurbished computer for $150. One Economy will help administer the program and participating companies will publicize the effort through a combination of public service announcements as well as by working with local political, civic, and community leaders.

We launched the Internet Essentials program earlier this year in cities across the country and working closely with school districts as well as over 1,000 community-based organizations nationwide we have already distributed 11 million pieces of literature about the program, 98% of which were bilingual. In conjunction with our community partners, we have held over 160 digital literacy training sessions across the country since the start of the school year, with over 100 more scheduled over the next few months.

Comcast applauds Chairman Genachowski and his staff for their leadership. We also appreciate the leadership of our trade association, NCTA, and its President, Michael Powell, and the participation of our colleagues in the cable industry and non-profit groups like One Economy, a leader in digital literacy, for their efforts in advancing an integrated program to improve broadband adoption rates in America. Working together, we are truly going to make a difference. With continued hard work both on programs like the one announced today and Internet Essentials, many more low-income families can take advantage of the educational and economic opportunities that the Internet offers.