Today marks the start of the second year of our groundbreaking Internet Essentials program. I'm also thrilled to announce we have reached a significant milestone: nearly 100,000 families or almost 400,000 low-income Americans are now connected to the Internet at home (most of them for the first time) because of this program. We didn't do this alone. This milestone is a testament to all the hard work and dedication of our employees and our community partners, the support we have received from school districts and elected officials, as well as from ordinary people who heard about the program and helped a family get online. To learn more about our latest Internet Essentials efforts, please read our recent FCC report.
Please watch the video above about the importance of broadband and the progress of our efforts. In it, you'll hear from FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, civil rights leader and Atlanta Congressman John Lewis, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, Dean Connie Spinner with UDC Community College as well as others including a teacher and a family.
As we did last year, we are about to embark on an aggressive, multi-city tour to promote and publicize this program and talk about what we've learned and the enhancements we've made. And we won't stop here. We have a lot more work to do because the fact remains that far too many Americans, many from low-income families, are still not connected to the Internet and taking advantage of all that it has to offer.
I've seen firsthand the potential impact that Internet Essentials can have. While in Miami last year, I met a young woman and her mother. The young woman was a student who needed to go to the library to use a computer to do her homework and had to take a bus there, which was an hour in one direction. She would go early in the morning and again after school to do her homework. When the young girl explained to her mother (who didn't speak English) that this program offered Internet at home for $9.95, the mother burst into tears and said, "I can afford that." Now this student doesn't have to take the bus one hour to and from the library to do her homework. There are so many stories like this one and they inspire me every day to continue to enhance this program and make sure more people are aware of it.
If you're reading about this program for the very first time, I strongly encourage you to visit some of the previous posts we have here on Comcast Voices, including one about the Progress Report we issued earlier this year, as well as some enhancements we made to the program to expand eligibility, double the Internet speeds provided with the service, streamline the approval process and introduce a bulk order program so community partners who want to purchase Internet Essentials subscriptions for the eligible families they serve can do so.
As always, we are encouraging neighbors and community groups to get involved. Here's where you can go to help make a difference:
- For general information about Internet Essentials, please visit: www.internetessentials.com (for English) and www.internetbasico.com (for Spanish).
- For educators, third-parties and others interested in helping to spread the word, please visit: www.internetessentials.com/partner where you can access free brochures and other handouts.
- If you know a parent who should apply for this program, please tell them to call 1-855-846-8376 or, for Spanish, 1-855-765-6995.