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Internet Essentials Partnership Program

A public-private partnership to close the digital divide

The Internet Essentials Partnership Program (IEPP) is designed to help accelerate Internet adoption at a critical time. The program provides the opportunity for school districts and other organizations to fund and quickly connect large numbers of students and families to broadband access at home.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, IEPP has already collaborated with more than 70 schools across the country. The program, which relies on public-private partnerships, enables entire communities to work together to coordinate funding to help connect K-12 students.

Through IEPP, sponsored families have access to all the benefits Internet Essentials has to offer – a high-speed Internet connection at home, the option to purchase a low-cost computer, and access to free digital skills training in person (if safe), online, and in print.

The Internet Essentials Partnership Program not only enables more families to connect to the Internet at home, it also allows community-based partners to bring their expertise to empower families to take on the challenges of today while preparing for the future.  

Partnership agreements have been announced in the following cities:

Connecting America: Stories from Our Partners

Chicago Connected

To address the digital divide in Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration created “Chicago Connected,” a groundbreaking partnership between the City of Chicago, Comcast, and other ISPs, and several philanthropic partners, including former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama as well as Ken Griffin. Chicago Connected will subsidize the cost to provide four years of free high-speed Internet to an estimated 100,000 students in low-income households across the city. The $50 million digital equity initiative is being paid for by philanthropic donations and CARES Act funding.

Get Our Kids Connected

When it became clear that Georgia schools would have to shut down to help stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Meria Carstarphen, former superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools (APS), contacted Comcast. She knew that many APS students were unlikely to participate in distance learning due to a lack of access to devices and Internet in their homes.

Through the help of local influencers and other leaders in the city, Atlanta Public Schools has raised $1.7 million to address the connectivity needs of students and their families. The “Get Our Kids Connected” campaign, which launched in April, will provide thousands of students with 12 months of free high-speed Internet and/or a free laptop that they can keep.

Sac City Kids Connect

With day-to-day life shifting online at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Sacramento and its school district recognized that many of their families would be unable to participate in distance learning due to a lack of devices as well as access to the Internet in their homes. Thanks to a history of impactful partnerships, the city and school district reached out to Comcast, and “Sac City Kids Connect”, was born.

The initiative, a multipronged collaboration between Comcast, the Sacramento City Unified School District, and the City of Sacramento, provides Internet Essentials, Comcast’s digital equity program, to 6,600 qualifying low-income families with Internet access, provided they live in a Comcast service area. As part of the Sac City Kids Connect program, eligible families are provided with a special code to access six months of free Internet so their children can learn at home.

How IEPP works

IEPP works through an agreement between a sponsoring organization and Comcast to pay for or sponsor Internet Essentials service for eligible low-income families.

Partnering organizations may use funding from a variety of sources to cover the cost of the service for families. In some cases, this might be through a nonprofit or school district funds, private or corporate donations, CARES Act stimulus funding, or other funding sources. Once an agreement is in place, “promo codes” are generated by Comcast, which the sponsor can then distribute to eligible families and individuals at their discretion. Promo codes are used by Comcast to bill the sponsor directly for the customer’s Internet Essentials Internet service. 

Become a Sponsor

Organizations interested in becoming IEPP partners can fill out this form to receive more information and begin the sponsorship process.

Connections Across America

Comcast has connected millions of low-income people to high-speed Internet at home, more than 90 percent of them for the first time in their lives.

Awareness and training

Digital literacy is the most important facilitator of getting people connected. Comcast has invested more than $650 million in digital literacy training and awareness, reaching more than 9.5 million

Equipment

An Internet connection is only as good as the device by which it is accessed. Comcast has provided low-income Americans with 100,000 affordable subsidized computers throughout the program’s history.

 

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