Internet Essentials

Comcast’s Internet Essentials Program Connects 4 Million Low-Income Americans to the Internet

Key Takeaways

2017 marked a major milestone for Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, which is designed to help close the digital divide for low-income families. In the six years since it launched in August 2011, the effort connected four million low-income Americans from one million households to the Internet at home, most for the very first time. To put that in perspective, four million people is larger than the populations of every city in America except New York City. It’s also bigger than the populations of 21 different U.S. states including Mississippi, Utah, and West Virginia.

This is a remarkable milestone, but we did not do this alone. One of the biggest lessons we learned along the way is that no single company or government program is ever going to close the digital divide all by itself. Solving a big, difficult societal issue like the digital divide takes a movement.

“Closing the digital divide for low-income families has a profound impact not just on each family member’s educational opportunities and job prospects, but on raising their overall quality of life. It gives everyone access to a level playing field and to the tools that can set them up for success in our fast-paced, digital, 21st century economy.” – David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, Comcast Corporation

It takes passionate people from all walks of life who are united and determined to solve one of the great inequalities in our society. It takes people like Cheryl Hobby, a math teacher at Lee Street Elementary School in Georgia, who embraced Internet Essentials because her students only had access to the school’s computer lab for 45 minutes a day. She saw immediately what having home Internet service could mean to her students’ grades.

It takes people like Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who personally made the case that Chicagoans take full advantage of the program, and the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro, with whom we made the biggest, most sweeping change to the program in its history – we expanded eligibility to all HUD-housing assisted families, of which there are up to two million in our service area across the country including veterans and seniors.

Creating a movement also takes customers, parents, and mothers like Lisa, Delis, and Gale, who all had the courage and confidence to share their stories about what Internet Essentials has meant for them and their families.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee, six-time Olympic medalist and our national spokeswoman for Internet Essentials, joined David L. Cohen for the second year in a row to go on a multi-city tour to promote the program, which has evolved to become the most successful broadband adoption initiative in the United States.

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