Comcast Corp. this week launched Internet Essentials, what is calls “an ambitious and comprehensive broadband adoption experiment” — providing monthly Internet access for $9.95 for qualifying families.
According to a release, it’s the first program to address three of the primary barriers to broadband adoption that research has identified:
1. A lack of understanding of how the Internet is relevant and useful
2. The cost of a home computer, and
3. The cost of Internet service.
Available to low-income families in the Pittsburgh area with children who are eligible to receive free lunches under the National School Lunch Program, the goal of Internet Essentials is to help close the digital divide and ensure more Americans benefit from all the Internet has to offer, the release stated.
“While America has increasingly become a digital nation, many low-income families in the Pittsburgh area are being left at a disadvantage because they don’t have Internet service at home. I am glad to see that Comcast is working to make sure more households in Pittsburgh can afford to adopt broadband service,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle in a statement. “I encourage parents, educators, community leaders and other government officials to join in this effort, spread the word and help increase broadband adoption in our community.”
Said Mayor Luke Ravenstahl: “Too many of Pittsburgh’s young residents unfortunately do not have the benefits of a home computer and Internet service. I commend Comcast for addressing this issue, and for helping to connect our city’s students with the advantages of service. It is my hope that opportunities like this, combined with programs like the Pittsburgh Promise, will help even more Pittsburgh students receive and achieve success as young adults.”
According to David L. Cohen, executive vice president of Comcast, “The Internet is a great equalizer and a life-changing technology. Internet Essentials helps level the playing field for low-income families by connecting students online with their teachers and their school’s educational resources and by enabling parents to receive digital literacy training so they can do things like apply for jobs online or use the Internet to learn more about health care and government services available where they live.”
Interested? Here’s what you need to know:
Internet Essentials participants will receive:
- Residential Internet service for $9.95 a month;
- No price increases, no activation fees, or equipment rental fees;
- A voucher to purchase a low-cost computer for $149.99 + tax; and
- Access to free digital literacy training in print, online or in person.
Additional benefits include a 30-day money-back guarantee and a complementary Suite — $160 value — for comprehensive online security protection.
A household is eligible to participate in the Internet Essentials program if it meets all of the following criteria:
- Is located where Comcast offers Internet service;
- Has at least one child eligible to receive a free school lunch under the NSLP;
- Has not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days; and
- Does not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment.
Comcast will sign up eligible families in the program for at least three years and through the end of the 2013-14 school year. Any household that qualifies during this three-year period will remain eligible for Internet Essentials provided the household still qualifies for the program until that child graduates from high school.
For general information about Internet Essentials, please visit www.internetessentials.com for English or www.internetbasico.com for Spanish. Educators or third parties interested in helping to spread the word can find more information at www.internetessentials.com/partner. Parents looking to enroll in the program can call 1-855-846-8376 or, for Spanish, 1-855-765-6995.