This morning in Chicago, David Cohen and Rahm Emanuel announced the debut of Internet Essentials, a forthcoming broadband deployment program designed to help provide affordable Internet access and computer equipment, together with and digital literacy training to eligible families. The program will be available throughout the Comcast footprint as students return to school this fall.
Households will be eligible to participate in Internet Essentials if they have at least one child eligible to receive a free school lunch through the National School Lunch Program and are located in communities in which Comcast offers Internet service. Other eligibility requirements also apply.
Mayor Emanuel said, "Having access to high-speed Internet service allows children to do schoolwork, adults to find jobs and grow the city's economy, and families to learn and explore together. The Internet Essentials program is a perfect example of the city's government and business community working together to craft innovative, competitive solutions to the important problems facing our citizens."
Cohen added, "Mayor Emanuel has proposed a very ambitious set of initiatives, all of which are designed to promote economic development and attract new business to Chicago. As a corporate citizen of this great city with more than 1,000 Chicago employees, Comcast is proud to play a role and partner with Chicago in these initiatives. But we're particularly proud to be a partner in the Mayor's ambitious broadband agenda, which tracks our own historic commitment to ubiquitous broadband availability and adoption across our footprint."
"The shared focus of the Mayor and Comcast on broadband adoption is justified by the relationship between broadband adoption and jobs. Based on some national research, every one percentage point increase in broadband adoption in the City of Chicago should translate into 1,000 to 3,000 new jobs," added Cohen.
The program is an important one, not just for Chicago, but also the country. According to a study released by Connected Nation, a nonprofit group focused on improving broadband adoption across the U.S., a 7 percent increase in broadband adoption would create 2.4 million jobs and save $662 million in health-care costs and $6.4 billion in vehicle mileage, among other savings.
When the program launches this fall, participants will receive:
XFINITY Economy Internet Service for $9.95 per month (plus applicable taxes) with no activation or equipment rental charges;
The opportunity to purchase a computer for $149.99 (plus applicable taxes); and
Access to online, in print, and in person digital literacy training.
More information on Internet Essentials is available at www.comcast.com/opportunity
A new web portal will be launched soon for school districts, community-based organizations, individuals and others to get more information about Internet Essentials.