SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — With the start of the new school year comes year three of Comcast’s Internet Essentials, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption initiative for low-income families. Congresswoman Doris Matsui, Congressman Jerry McNerney, Comcast Executive Vice President David L. Cohen, and civic and community leaders today announced that as of June 2013, nearly 25,750 families in California, including more than 5,150 families in the Sacramento metro area, have signed up for Internet Essentials. Nationwide, more than 150,000 families have enrolled in the program, benefitting an estimated 600,000 low-income Americans, as of January 2013.
“Thanks to community leaders and schools nationwide, more than 150,000 families now have the opportunity to use the power of the Internet at home to get ahead in work, education, and life, just by doing things online that many of us take for granted, such as applying for a job, researching a health condition, paying a bill or completing homework,” said Cohen. “Together, with cities like Sacramento, we are making real and significant progress in closing the digital divide in America. We know there is still a long road ahead, but we remain committed to connecting even more families to the Internet especially during this critical back to school season.”
At the Sacramento Convention Center today, Comcast hosted a Youth Tech Summit and Expo to create further awareness of Internet Essentials and educate and engage civic and community leaders around the issue of digital adoption and literacy. The event also included panel discussions about cyber-bulling and creating 21st Century learning communities.
In addition, Comcast’s California Region also announced a promotion for children to create a video explaining, “Why the Internet is Essential.” Students in Comcast’s California service area from elementary school to high school are invited to enter by submitting a 60-second video sharing why broadband access is crucial to them. A selection committee comprised of leaders from non-profit, education, government and business communities will review the entries and select winners. Four runner-up students will each receive netbook computers; and the grand prize winner will receive a netbook computer and a $1,000 gift card, plus 15 Opportunity Cards that can be used to pay for Internet Essentials service and 15 netbook computers for the eligible non-profit community-based organization of their choice. For more information, students can visit: http://comcastcalifornia.mediaroom.com/
“The Comcast Youth Tech Summit and Expo is important for connecting youth, their families, and the community with the information and resources needed to stay linked in today’s digital economy,” said Matsui. “Events like today’s summit help draw attention to some of the most critical issues families face with technology including affordability, safety, and accessibility. Whether it is for homework, finding a job, or creating that next big idea, Internet access has become a necessity, not a luxury.”
Internet Essentials offers eligible families low-cost broadband service for $9.95 a month. Families also can purchase an Internet-ready computer for less than $150 and access digital literacy training sessions and materials online, in print, and in person. Since the program’s start, Comcast has distributed more than 15,000 computers and trained more than 10,000 people across the nation. Additionally, Comcast has partnered nationally with nearly 7,000 community based organizations, agencies, and officials to help spread the word about Internet Essentials.
New in 2013
To increase enrollment and continue to help close the digital divide in America, Comcast continues to enhance Internet Essentials. So far in 2013 we have:
- Expanded eligibility – Comcast has expanded program eligibility criteria for the second time, to include parochial, private, and homeschooled students. Now, nearly 2.6 million families nationwide are eligible for Internet Essentials.
- Created an online application tool – On InternetEssentials.com, it is now easier and faster for a family to apply for Internet Essentials. This convenient online tool can be used by families on computers at community centers, local libraries, or at a friend’s to request an application.
- Introduced Internet Essentials Opportunity Cards – Our community partners are now able to help connect low-income families to the Internet by purchasing Opportunity Cards that can be used toward the cost of paying for Internet Essentials service.
In California, Comcast is working with a growing network of community based organizations to spread the word about Internet Essentials and provide digital literacy training. Those organizations include: California School Library Association, Center for Training & Careers, Greater Sacramento Urban League, K to College, MOUSE Squad, and Reading & Beyond.
About Internet Essentials
Internet Essentials from Comcast is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program. It provides low-cost broadband service for $9.95 a month plus tax; the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for under $150; and multiple options to access free digital literacy training in print, online, and in-person. A household is eligible to participate if it has at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), is located where Comcast offers Internet service, has not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days, and does not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment. Families that enroll in the program can continue to enjoy the service as long as one child eligible to participate in the NSLP is living in the household.
For more information about Internet Essentials visit http://InternetEssentials.com for English and http://InternetBasico.com for Spanish. Educators or third-parties interested in helping to spread the word can find more information at http://www.InternetEssentials.com/partner . Parents looking to enroll in the program can call 1-855-846-8376 or, for Spanish, 1-855-765-6995.
About Comcast Cable
Comcast Cable is the nation’s largest video, high-speed Internet and phone provider to residential customers under the XFINITY brand and also provides these services to businesses. Comcast has invested in technology to build an advanced network that delivers among the fastest broadband speeds, and brings customers personalized video, communications and home management offerings. Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is a global media and technology company. Visit http://www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.