A young student carries her Internet Essential laptop.
Internet Essentials

Comcast Connects 33,000 Low-Income Families to the Internet At Home Through Internet Essentials

Nationally, the program has connected 750,000 families, or 3 million Americans, to affordable home Internet.

Today, Comcast announced that in five years, 33,000 families in Greater Philadelphia, or nearly 132,000 individuals, have signed up for Internet Essentials. Nationally, Internet Essentials has connected 750,000 families, or 3 million Americans, to the internet at home.

The company also announced an award of $100,000 in grants to 10 local non-profits that are working to bridge the digital divide. The donations will support the digital literacy efforts of Concilio; Congreso; the Dornsife Center at Drexel University; Girls, Inc. of Greater Philadelphia and Southern NJ; Peoples Emergency Center (PEC); Philadelphia FIGHT; Police Athletic League of Philadelphia; Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Associations Coalition (SEAMAAC); SPIN-Norcom Community Center and Strawberry Mansion Neighborhood Action Center.

David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast Corporation, made these announcements today alongside Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, Olympic Medalist and Internet Essentials Spokesperson Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and Philadelphia School District Superintendent Dr. William R. Hite.

"In the last five years, we’ve learned that no single company or government program is ever going to fix the digital divide and that solving a big, difficult societal issue like this takes nothing short of a movement," said Cohen. "We are proud that thousands of elected officials and community partners in our home state and nationwide have helped us make a meaningful dent in the digital divide and we look forward to bringing this essential connection to even more families in Philadelphia and across the country over the next five years. Philadelphia has made enormous strides and is now fourth in the nation for adoption of Internet Essentials, but there is still more good work to do."

"Internet Essentials is a lifeline for our residents to look for jobs, help our kids do their homework, and access other vital online resources," said Mayor Kenney. "We’re proud of the progress being made here in Philadelphia and we appreciate the significant investments that Comcast is continuing to make that will have enduring impacts on our community."

Dena Herrin, Executive Director of Girls Inc. of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey said, "Without access to the internet and the skills to use that vast resource safely and productively it would be practically impossible for our girls to dream big and achieve their goals in the 21st century. This generous Internet Essentials grant will enhance our current STEM programs to have a greater focus on digital technology for information, communication and design."

Cohen and Joyner-Kersee’s visit is the last leg of a multi-city back-to-school tour where the company announced more than $2 million in grants to community-based organizations that provide vital digital literacy training and internet access.

"Both in my athletic career and in the days since then, I’ve tried to inspire young people to commit to hard work in both academics and athletics," said Joyner-Kersee. "While growing up playing sports, all I ever wanted was a level playing field, a fair competition where those who had put in the hard work had a chance to shine. I’m proud to represent Internet Essentials because this program helps level the playing field for all families by connecting them to the power of the internet at home. Internet Essentials gives every child the chance to develop their fullest potential and reach for their dreams, whatever those dreams may be."

Today’s announcements come on the heels of the release of a comprehensive Internet Essentials Five Year Progress Report, which includes significant new milestones highlighting the program’s impact on the lives of its customers since its launch in 2011.

National Internet Essentials Investments

Since 2011, Comcast has invested more than $300 million in cash and in-kind support to fund digital literacy initiatives nationally, reaching nearly 4.4 million people through national and local nonprofit community partners. Additional key program milestones and facts through June 2016 include:

  • Dedicated more than $1.8 million in grants to create Internet Essentials Learning Zones, where networks of nonprofit partners are working together to enhance public Internet access and increase family-focused digital literacy training in Atlanta, Baltimore Chicago, Denver, Fresno, and Seattle, among others.

  • Broadcast 8.5 million public service announcements, valued at nearly $110 million.

  • Provided more than 54,000 subsidized computers at less than $150 each.

  • Distributed nearly 53 million pieces of Internet Essentials program material for free.

  • Welcomed more than 6.4 million visitors to the Internet Essentials English and Spanish websites, and its Online Learning Center.

  • Fielded more than 4.4 million phone calls to our Internet Essentials call center.

  • Offered Internet Essentials to more than 55,000 schools in more than 5,000 school districts in 39 states and the District of Columbia.

  • Partnered with over 9,000 community-based organizations, government agencies, and federal, state, and local elected officials to spread the word.