Comcast Corporation announced the launch of Internet Essentials, an ambitious and comprehensive broadband adoption initiative designed to help bridge the digital divide in America. Offered to low-income families with children who are eligible to receive a free school lunch as part of their enrollment in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Internet Essentials will provide families with low-cost monthly Internet service, an affordable computer and digital literacy training, available in both English and Spanish for Hispanic households.
The program, which was officially kicked off to the Hispanic community today by Comcast Corporation Executive Vice President David L. Cohen, will be rolled out in more than 4,000 school districts within 39 states, plus the District of Columbia. Internet Essentials could be particularly impactful in the Hispanic community given that Hispanic children make up almost one-third (32%) of all children receiving free lunches through the NSLP.
According to Cohen, “Internet Essentials represents an important opportunity for Comcast to help bridge both the digital and cultural divide for Hispanics in the U.S. This program will not only help connect Hispanic students with their teachers and other educational resources, it will also help members of their households do things like apply for jobs online, improve language skills, or learn more about healthcare services available where they live.”
Internet Essentials addresses what research has identified as the three primary barriers to broadband adoption, which include:
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.
Qualified Internet Essentials families will receive:
– Residential Internet service for $9.95 a month + applicable taxes;
– A voucher to purchase a low-cost computer for $149.99 + tax;
– Access to free digital literacy training in print, online and in person.
Additional benefits include a complimentary Norton™ Security 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 who is eligible to receive a free school lunch under the NSLP; (As an example, according to the Department of Agriculture, a household of three would have to make less than $25,000 a year in income);
– Has not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days;
– Does not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment.
Comcast will sign up eligible families in the program for at least three years, through the end of the 2013-2014 school year. Any household that qualifies during this three-year period will remain eligible for Internet Essentials provided a child eligible for a free lunch remains living in the household.
For more information at <http://www.internetessentials.com>
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