Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, Thornton Township Supervisor Frank Zuccarelli and Community Organizations join Comcast to Announce new “Internet Essentials Learning Zone” and Public Computer Labs

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Children and Families to have free access to Internet, digital literacy training at Thornton Township Youth Center and Faith United Methodist Church…

Thornton Zone Pic
Click the picture above for a map of the Thornton Township Internet Essentials Learning Zone

Designed to help close the digital divide, Comcast’s Internet Essentials program provides Internet service at home to eligible low-income families for around $10 a month, the ability to purchase a computer for around $150 and access to free digital literacy training in print, online and in-person.  The program was first announced in 2011 right here in the Chicago area and since then has provided 300,000 families, or more than a million people, access to the Internet at home nationally – 100,000 people in the Chicago area alone.

Today, Comcast joined Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Thornton Township Supervisor Frank Zuccarelli and leaders from local community- and faith-based organizations to announce an additional step it’s taking to close the digital divide – the creation of an “Internet Essentials Learning Zone” in Thornton Township.

“Through Internet Essentials, we’ve made great strides in shrinking the digital divide by providing Internet access to literally tens of thousands of Cook County families – many for the first time,” said Matthew Summy, Comcast’s regional vice president of External and Government Affairs.  “Now, we’re taking additional steps by providing students access to computers and the Internet at places where many of them go when they’re not at home or in school – local community- and faith-based organizations, many of which have after-school and other types of programs for children and teens.”

To this end, within the zone, Comcast will provide:

  • Enhanced public Internet access, including indoor WiFi service at the Thornton Township Youth Committee, Inc. in Riverdale and the Faith United Methodist Church in Dolton;
  • A $10,000 donation to be used to enhance the computer lab and provide digital literacy training at Faith United Methodist Church and to create a new computer lab at the Riverdale Community Resource Center.
  • Additional digital literacy training programs in community settings designed to teach parents and children how to use the Internet effectively and safely, and parents how to monitor their children’s online activity and school work; and
  • Events designed to inform parents about Internet Essentials and how they can enroll.
Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board President

“I’m grateful to Comcast for its efforts to expand Internet access in Thornton Township and throughout Cook County,” said President Preckwinkle, who also taped a public service announcement for the Internet Essentials program today that will air in south suburban Cook County in August.  “The Internet is essential to academic success.  The learning zone presents an opportunity to expand the learning day by providing students with access to the Internet when they’re not in school or at home – the times they typically don’t have Internet access.”

In 2013, Comcast established the first Internet Essentials Learning Zone in the nation in Chicago’s Bronzeville, Englewood/West Englewood and North Lawndale neighborhoods, and earlier this year established zones in Chicago’s Edgewater, East/West Rogers Park and Uptown neighborhoods, just west of the city in suburban Cicero/Berwyn and downstate in Peoria.

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 for English and for Spanish. Educators or third-parties interested in helping to spread the word can find more information at 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 for more information.

With about 7,000 local employees, Comcast’s Greater Chicago Region ( 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.

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