Comcast’s Internet Essentials program has helped 1.3 million+ low-income Illinoisans connect to the Internet at home since 2011
“We have the resources in place in Rockford and elsewhere to end the digital divide – to connect low-income kids, families, seniors, veterans and people with disabilities to the power of the Internet – right here, right now, and we don’t even have to put a shovel in the ground”
October 13, 2021 – Comcast today continued its Illinois Digital Equity Tour, a week-long tour across Illinois to promote digital equity, with a stop at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Rockford’s (BGCR) Fairgrounds Unit. The timing of the tour is in line with the 10th anniversary of Internet Essentials, Comcast’s low-cost broadband adoption program for low-income households with grammar, high school and college students; seniors; veterans; people with disabilities; and public housing residents enrolled in public assistance programs, ranging from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) to the federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Since its launch in 2011, Internet Essentials has connected more than 10 million Americans to the Internet at home – more than 1.3 million in Illinois alone.
Over the course of the tour, Comcast will have delivered a total of 500 laptops and $50,000 in funds to community-based organizations (CBO) in five Central and Northern Illinois locations to support digital skills training and other activities designed to close the digital divide. The tour began Thursday, October 7, and ends tomorrow, Thursday, October 14, and includes stops at CBOs in Chicago’s south suburbs, Champaign, Decatur and Springfield, in addition to Rockford. In Rockford today, Comcast announced the donation of 100 laptops and $10,000 to support the BGCR’s STEM programs for club members.
“We have the resources in place in Rockford and elsewhere to end the digital divide – to connect low-income kids, families, seniors, veterans and people with disabilities to the power of the Internet – right here, right now, and we don’t even have to put a shovel in the ground,” Joan Sage, Comcast’s Community Relations Manager in Rockford, said during remarks at the club today.
According to Sage, those resources include a combination of:
- Programs like Internet Essentials that can connect low-income households;
- Partners like the Boys & Girls Clubs of Rockford, the school district and our mayor, which have all come together to support and deliver programs designed to close the digital divide and build digital skills;
- Comcast’s network, which reaches almost the entire city and provides the same services everywhere – regardless of zip code. Comcast has 1,450 miles of network in Rockford, including hundreds of miles of fiber, and 30,000 WiFi hotspots in and around town. Comcast’s network allows the company to provide Internet Essentials to households across Rockford and help make sure no one is left behind; and
- The federal government’s Emergency Broadband Benefit program, which provides eligible households a discount of up to $50 a month towards broadband service, and up to $75 a month for households on qualifying tribal lands.
“We have resources in place to help close the digital divide. We must now focus on educating our residents, building their digital skills and helping them take advantage of these resources,” said Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara. ”Our progress shows that partnerships between the government, community-based organizations and the private sector are effective in addressing important issues like the digital divide.”
“Digital equity is a major social justice issue in this country,” said Chip Stoner, BGCR President and CEO. “Digital skills and Internet connectivity are major factors in our club members’ academic performance and success later in life. We can’t thank Comcast and the city enough for their support for our mission ‘to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.’”
Project UP – Building a Future of Unlimited Possibilities
For over a decade, connecting more people to the Internet and the technology they need to participate and excel in an increasingly digital world has been a core focus for Comcast. Looking toward the next ten years, Comcast is building on that foundation and expanding its impact through Project UP, a comprehensive initiative to advance digital equity and help build a future of unlimited possibilities. This week’s tour to promote digital equity in Illinois is part of Project UP.
Backed by a $1 billion commitment to reach 50 million people, Project UP encompasses the programs and community partnerships across Comcast, NBCUniversal and Sky that connect people to the Internet, advance economic mobility and open doors for the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, storytellers and creators. For more information on Project UP and the latest news on Comcast’s efforts to address digital inequities, visit https://corporate.comcast.com/impact/project-up.
“Project UP is an unprecedented commitment to not only continue the work we’ve been doing to bring about digital equity, but deepen it,” said John Crowley, Comcast Greater Chicago Region Senior Vice President. “Our goal is to partner with stakeholders in the communities we serve to help people access the Internet at home and in their communities so they can build the digital skills they need to succeed in school and in the workforce.”
About Internet Essentials
Internet Essentials is Comcast’s signature digital equity initiative and the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program. In 10 years, it has helped connect 10 million low-income Americans to broadband Internet at home, most for the very first time. It has a comprehensive design that addresses each of the three major barriers to broadband adoption. This includes multiple options to access free digital literacy training in print, online, and in person; the option to purchase a heavily subsidized, low-cost Internet-ready computer; and low-cost, high-speed Internet service for $9.95 a month, plus tax. The program is structured as a partnership between Comcast and tens of thousands of school districts, libraries, elected officials and nonprofit community partners. For more information about Internet Essentials and Comcast’s commitment to education and digital equity, please visit https://corporate.comcast.com/education. To apply, visit www.internetessentials.com or call 1-855-846-8376 for English or 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company that connects people to moments that matter. We are principally focused on broadband, aggregation, and streaming with over 56 million customer relationships across the United States and Europe. We deliver broadband, wireless, and video through our Xfinity, Comcast Business, and Sky brands; create, distribute, and stream leading entertainment, sports, and news through Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, Universal Studio Group, Sky Studios, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, multiple cable networks, Peacock, NBCUniversal News Group, NBC Sports, Sky News, and Sky Sports; and provide memorable experiences at Universal Parks and Resorts in the United States and Asia. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.
With nearly 6,000 local employees, Comcast’s Greater Chicago Region
(https://chicago.comcast.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. “Follow” Comcast’s Greater Chicago Region on Twitter at @ComcastIllinois.