With school now well underway, Comcast is once again working with local community partners, including the Springfield Urban League, to connect local families to Internet Essentials, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption initiative for low-income families. Internet Essentials helps close the digital divide by providing eligible families low-cost broadband service at home for $9.95 a month. Participating families also can purchase an Internet-ready computer for less than $150 through the program, as well as access digital literacy training sessions and materials online, in print and in person. To date in Central Illinois, more than 1,000 families have enrolled in the program and 30,000 have enrolled in the state.
“Thanks to Internet Essentials, the Springfield Urban League in Springfield, IL, and our other local community partners, many area families now have the opportunity to use the power of the Internet at home to get ahead in work, education and life, just by doing things online that many of us take for granted, such as applying for a job, researching a health condition, paying a bill or completing homework,” said Matthew Summy, Comcast’s regional vice president of Government and External Affairs. “Together, we’re making significant progress in closing the digital divide in and around Springfield.”
Today, Comcast sponsored the Springfield Urban League’s “Family Fun Fest,” to provide families with children in the Head Start program information about Internet Essentials and other available programs and services designed to help them succeed in school and in life.
“We thank Comcast for its support and for helping us help so many Springfield families learn about and gain access to Internet Essentials and other beneficial programs and services available to them,” said Howard Peters, executive assistant, Springfield Urban League. “Our goal is to work with Comcast to educate even more local families about Internet Essentials and give as many Springfield area families as possible access to the Internet at home.”
Internet Essentials gaining even more momentum
In less than two years’ time, more than 220,000 families nationwide – or an estimated 900,000 low-income Americans – have enrolled in the program and now have a broadband Internet connection at home. This includes more than 30,000 families in Illinois. And now, going into the program’s third year, its momentum is increasing. On average, through December 2012, about 50,000 households enrolled each month. In the first six months of 2013, that number increased to 70,000. Since the program’s inception in fall 2011, Comcast has distributed more than 18,000 subsidized computers; provided digital literacy training to nearly 20,000 people; publicized the program in more than 4,000 school districts and more than 30,000 schools; broadcast nearly 2 million public service announcements and partnered with nearly 7,000 community based organizations, agencies, and officials – about 1,900 alone here in Comcast’s Greater Chicago Region, which includes Central Illinois – to help spread the word about the program.
New in 2013
Comcast has updated Internet Essentials for 2013, including:
- Increased Speed – For the second time in two years, Comcast has increased its broadband speeds for Internet Essentials customers up to 5 Mbps downstream and up to 1 Mbps upstream. Comcast has more than tripled the download speeds for Internet Essentials customers since the program’s launch.
- Streamlined Enrollment – Comcast has further streamlined the enrollment process by expanding the instant approval process for families whose students attend schools where 70 percent or more of the students are eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program.
- Expanded Eligibility – Comcast has expanded program eligibility criteria for the second time, to include parochial, private, cyberschool, and homeschooled students. Now, nearly 2.6 million families nationwide are eligible for Internet Essentials.
- Created an Online Application Tool – On InternetEssentials.com and InternetBasico.com, it is now easier and faster for a family to apply for Internet Essentials. This convenient online request form is available in English and Spanish and can be accessed through any Internet-enabled computer, tablet, or smartphone. It can be used by families on computers at community centers, local libraries or at a friend’s to request an application.
- Introduced Internet Essentials Opportunity Cards – Our community partners are now able to help connect low-income families to the Internet by purchasing Opportunity Cards that can be used toward the cost of paying for Internet Essentials service.
About Internet Essentials
Internet Essentials from Comcast is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program. It provides low-cost broadband service for $9.95 a month plus tax; the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for under $150; and multiple options to access free digital literacy training in print, online, and in-person. A household is eligible to participate if it has at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), is located where Comcast offers Internet service, has not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days, and does not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment. Families that enroll in the program can continue to enjoy the service as long as one child eligible to participate in the NSLP is living in the household.
For more information about Internet Essentials visit InternetEssentials.com for English and InternetBasico.com for Spanish. Educators or third-parties interested in helping to spread the word can find more information at InternetEssentials.com/partner. Parents looking to enroll in the program can call 1-855-846-8376 or, for Spanish, 1-855-765-6995.
About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is a global media and technology company with two primary businesses, Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is the nation’s largest video, high-speed Internet and phone provider to residential customers under the XFINITY brand and also provides these services to businesses. NBCUniversal operates 30 news, entertainment and sports cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations, television station groups, Universal Pictures and Universal Parks and Resorts. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.
With more than 7,000 local employees, Comcast’s Greater Chicago Region (www.comcastgcr.com) serves customers in central and northern Illinois, including the Chicago area, northwest Indiana and southwest Michigan. “Like” Comcast’s Greater Chicago Region on Facebook by visiting Comcast of Illinois, NW Indiana and SW Michigan. “Follow” Comcast’s Greater Chicago Region on Twitter at @ComcastIllinois. Become an Xfinity VIP by texting XVIPFB to 47211 and get product updates and discounts on local events.