Comcast Announces 172,000 Low-Income Chicagoans Have Crossed the Digital Divide through its Internet Essentials Program

Company Expands Internet Essentials to as many as 91,000 CHA Households…

Company to Donate $125,000 to Fund Local Computer Labs and Digital Literacy Training…

According to a five-year progress report the company released today, Comcast’s acclaimed Internet Essentials program has helped connect nearly 43,000 families  – or 172,000 low-income Chicagoans – and nationwide, 750,000 families  –  or 3 million low-income Americans  – to low-cost, high-speed Internet service at home.  David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast Corporation, made the announcement alongside six-time Olympic Medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who was recently named the national spokesperson for Internet Essentials.

Cqo9nQ5W8AAs2rwThe two also announced $125,000 in support for the creation of a computer lab at a Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) facility, a mobile learning lab and digital literacy training.

“In the last five years, we’ve learned that no single company or government program is ever going to fix the digital divide and that solving a big, difficult societal issue like this takes nothing short of a movement,” said Cohen.  “We are so proud that thousands of community partners around the country have helped us make a meaningful dent in the digital divide.  With the recent announcement of our expansion to Chicago Housing Authority and other HUD-assisted homes, we look forward to bringing this essential connection to even more families over the next five years.  There is still more good work to do.”

Jackie Joyner Kersee
Jackie Joyner-Kersee

“I’ve dedicated my life to inspiring young people to have the confidence to succeed in both academics and athletics,” said Joyner-Kersee.  “At my foundation’s community center in East St. Louis, I’ve seen first-hand the kids who grow up without internet service at home and the impact it has on their futures.  I’m proud to represent Internet Essentials and help close the digital divide, so every child can have the chance to develop to their fullest potential and reach their dreams.”

The progress report comes on the heels of a recent announcement by Comcast to expand the program’s eligibility to households receiving HUD-housing assistance, including public housing, Housing Choice Voucher, and Multifamily programs.   In total, there are up to 2 million HUD-assisted homes in Comcast’s service area across the country including 91,000 in Chicago.  The announcement means even more individuals, including seniors, veterans, and adults without children, are now eligible to apply to the program.

“CHA is pleased that this program has expanded so that our residents can have the convenience of Internet access at home,” said CHA CEO Eugene Jones, Jr. “Providing quality services to our residents to support their needs and improve their lives continues to be our biggest priority at CHA.”

Comcast and the CHA also announced the two are awarding 100 laptops to CHA residents.

IE 5-year Progress ReportThe comprehensive Internet Essentials Five Year Progress Report, available online here, includes significant new milestones highlighting the program’s impact on the lives of its customers since its launch in 2011.  In addition to the 3 million connections delivered since its inception, the report shows that Comcast has invested more than $300 million in cash and in-kind support to help fund digital literacy training and educational initiatives, reaching nearly 4.4 million people through national and local nonprofit community partners.

The report goes on to note that, since the launch of the program, Comcast has distributed 54,000 subsidized computers and partnered with more than 9,000 community partners– with 1,000 in the Chicago region alone –    including schools and school districts, community-based organizations, elected officials, and businesses who understand the importance of bringing the Internet home.

Internet Essentials Investments

  • Since 2011, Comcast has invested more than $300 million in cash and in-kind support to fund digital literacy initiatives nationally, reaching nearly 4.4 million people through our national and local nonprofit community partners. Additional key program milestones and facts through June 2016 include:
    • Dedicated more than $1.8 million in grants to create Internet Essentials Learning Zones, where networks of nonprofit partners are working together to enhance public Internet access and increase family-focused digital literacy training in Atlanta, Baltimore Chicago, Denver, Fresno, and Seattle, among others.
    • Broadcast 8.5 million public service announcements, valued at nearly $110 million.
    • Provided more than 54,000 subsidized computers at less than $150 each.
    • Distributed nearly 53 million pieces of Internet Essentials program material for free.
    • Welcomed more than 6.4 million visitors to the Internet Essentials English and Spanish websites, and its Online Learning Center.
    • Fielded more than 4.4 million phone calls to our Internet Essentials call center.
    • Offered Internet Essentials to more than 55,000 schools in more than 5,000 school districts in 39 states and the District of Columbia.
    • Partnered with over 9,000 community-based organizations, government agencies, and federal, state, and local elected officials – with 1,000 in the Chicago region alone – to spread the word.

 About Internet Essentials

Internet Essentials from Comcast is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive high-speed internet adoption program.  It provides low-cost high-speed internet 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.  For more information, or to apply for the program, visit or call 1-855-846-8376. Spanish speakers should call 1-855-765-6995.

About Comcast Corporation

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company with two primary businesses, Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is one of the nation’s largest video, high-speed internet and phone providers to residential customers under the XFINITY brand and also provides these services to businesses.  NBCUniversal operates 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 nearly 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.

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