Having a connection to the Internet at home is vital in this day and age. Since 2011, Comcast has made it their mission to connect more than 6 million low-income Americans to low-cost, high-speed Internet in order to help pave the way for success. But Comcast’s Internet Essentials program means much more than just introducing Internet into a home; it’s about breaking down barriers for members of our community in order to help them thrive.
Students can access educational resources, and parents are able to search for better jobs, all while staying connected to the world around them. Families who have begun utilizing the Internet Essentials program have seen remarkable change in their daily lives.
Comcast’s Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Diversity Officer, David Cohen, launched Internet Essentials just over seven years ago, and it is now is the largest and most successful broadband adoption program for low-income families throughout the United States.
“Internet Essentials was designed to help bridge the digital divide by connecting low-income families to the power of Internet at home,” Cohen states. “There has been a slew of research about why families are not connected to the Internet and the research is all consistent saying that the number one barrier is a complicated bucket of digital literacy and digital relevance issues. Many people don’t know how to use a computer; they don’t know what’s on the Internet, they may be afraid of the Internet, and they may be worried about child predators that can impact their kids.”
He continues, “The second barrier through adoption is the lack of an Internet capable computer. And the third barrier is the cost of a monthly Internet subscription. So we designed Internet Essentials based on this research to attack each of these three barriers and beyond.”
Since 2011, more than 6 million Americans have been connected to the Internet at home and over 85,000 laptops have been provided to families through Comcast’s Internet Essentials program. This includes 260,000 individuals right here in Washington State. But what could be more special than giving the gift of connection? Comcast says that it’s the reactions of the kids and families on the receiving end.
Olympic Gold Medalists for the United States Women’s Hockey team, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando, have teamed up with Comcast to help support their positive impact on communities throughout the nation.
“What never gets old is seeing the appreciation and emotion that these kids have,” Jocelyne tells us. “Some kids have tears in their eyes, some kids are going nuts and hugging, and everyone is cheering. It’s a pretty special experience to be a part of. They really understand the tools and opportunity that they’re getting by having a laptop and getting access to the Internet. It really has a potential to change the trajectory of their education.”
This month, Comcast announced that they not only will be providing the Internet Essentials program to low-income students and families, but also have expanded to include low-income veterans living within Comcast’s service areas. Currently, there are nearly 1 billion low-income veterans across Comcast’s footprint, and nearly 60,000 of these veterans reside in Washington State.
How do students, families, and veterans qualify to be a part of Comcast’s Internet Essentials program? Any children who are qualified to participate in National School Lunch Program are eligible to join, and if you are a student in a school where at least 40% of the students are eligible to participate to in the National School Lunch Program, Comcast will make every student and family in that school eligible to take part in the Internet Essentials program.
Veterans who are eligible to participate in any type of assistance programs at the state or federal level – such as medical assistance, disability benefits, or food stamps – are eligible for Internet Essentials. Other residents in Washington who live in public housing or are receiving federal public housing assistance are eligible to participate in the program regardless of age or if you have kids.
In America, one in four families do not have Internet access in their own home; that’s why Comcast is dedicated to providing Americans with an equal opportunity to connect to the Internet in their households for a low monthly cost of $9.95 per month. Visit Comcast’s website to learn more about Internet Essentials or apply online to join their program today.