The internet is a powerful resource for furthering education, assisting with job searches, tracking your benefits, engaging in tele-health and keeping up with life. There’s no doubt, having access to the internet is more important than ever. But not everyone has equal access to the internet, especially economically challenged households. This issue is referred to as digital equity.
Earlier this year, Comcast announced plans to invest $1 billion over the next 10 years to help further address digital equity and give even more low-income Americans the tools and resources they need to succeed in an increasingly digital world. This commitment is projected to impact as many as 50 million Americans over the next 10 years. This comes as Comcast celebrates the 10-year anniversary of its Internet Essentials program, which is one of the longest running in-home internet connectivity programs for low-income families in the nation. Internet Essentials has helped to connect more than 20,000 low-income residents in the Greater Kansas City area, including Lee’s Summit, along with more than 10 million others across the country. The coronavirus epidemic galvanized the need for the company to try to do even more to help connect the unconnected.
“Ten years is a remarkable milestone, signifying an extraordinary amount of work and collaboration with our incredible community partners across the country,” said Dave Watson, chief executive officer, Comcast Cable. “Together, we have been able to connect millions of people to the power of the internet at home, and to the endless opportunity, education, growth, and discovery it provides. We are rededicating ourselves to this mission to ensure that the next generation of students in America has the tools, resources, and abilities they need to succeed in an increasingly digital world.”
Internet Essentials solves the barrier to internet adoption through wrap-around programming that includes free digital literacy training resources, the option to purchase an internet-ready computer for less than $150; and low-cost, high-speed inter- net service for $9.95 a month plus tax. Through this three-pronged approach, the company has been able to bring some digital equity to the situation and connect students, families and communities in need of affordable internet resources.
Comcast is part of the federal government’s program Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB). The goal of EBB is to give assistance directly to those in need so they can readily access the power of the Internet to work from home, learn virtually, stay informed, and much more.
For more information about Internet Essentials and Comcast’s commitment to education and digital equity, please visit https://corporate.comcast.com/impact/digital-equity/internet-essentials. Families and households can apply for the program at www.internetessentials.com or by phone at 1-855- 846-8376 for English or 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.