‘Internet Essentials’ to Provide Families with Children Eligible for a Free Lunch Under the National School Lunch Program with Low-Cost Internet Service, Affordable Computers and Digital Literacy Training
Comcast Corporation Executive Vice President David L. Cohen and Comcast’s Regional Senior Vice President of the Florida East Coast Region, Filemon Lopez, hosted a briefing yesterday to discuss best-in-class broadband inclusion programs. There, Cohen unveiled a new national initiative called Internet Essentials, which is being viewed as the most ambitious and comprehensive broadband adoption program in the county.
The program addresses what research has identified three primary barriers to broadband adoption:
- A lack of understanding of how the Internet is relevant and useful
- The cost of a home computer
- The cost of Internet service
Available to low-income families living in Comcast’s service areas with children who are eligible to receive a free lunch under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the goal of Internet Essentials is to help ensure more American families benefit from all the Internet has to offer. According to Cohen, “Access to the Internet has the potential to be a great equalizer and a life-changing technology. Internet Essentials helps level the playing field for low-income families. Access to broadband in students’ homes will help them connect with their teachers and their school’s educational resources as well as enabling parents to do things like apply for jobs online or use the Internet to learn more about healthcare and government services available where they live.”
Internet Essentials participants will receive:
- Residential Internet service for $9.95 a month + applicable taxes;
- No price increases, no activation fees, or equipment rental fees;
- A voucher to purchase a low-cost computer for $149.99 + tax;
- Access to free digital literacy training in print, online or in person.
- Additional benefits include the Norton™ Security Suite ($160 value) for comprehensive online security protection at no additional cost.
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;
- (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 general information about Internet Essentials, please visit http://www.internetessentials.com for English and visit http://www.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.