Comcast’s Internet Essentials program has helped 1.3 million+ low-income Illinoisans connect to the Internet at home since 2011
October 14, 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 Central Illinois (BGCCI) in Springfield. 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, with stops in Chicago’s south suburbs and then Rockford, then stops at two Central Illinois locations, the Developmental Services Center in Champaign and the Decatur Family YMCA in Decatur, earlier this week, and finally today’s stop in Springfield.
At BGCCIL, Comcast recognized the achievements of club members that participated in STEM programs during the school year. The company also announced the donation of 100 laptops and $10,000 in continued support for the club’s STEM programs. Earlier in the week, Comcast announced laptop and cash donations during the tour’s stops in Champaign and Decatur.
“Quality internet access is critical to every family’s livelihood – from telehealth and classroom connections, to finding important resources and job advancement,” said Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder. “In order for Springfield to continue to grow, it takes public-private partnerships and the community working together. Programs like Internet Essentials not only helps students succeed in school and prepare them for the workforce, it assists in breaking down the digital divide and ensuring our students are on the road to success.”
“Digital equity is one of the most important social justice issues of our time,” said BGCCI CEO & Executive Director Tiffany Mathis. “We appreciate Comcast for continually stepping up to support the club and our STEM programs, connecting our members to the Internet and helping us deliver on our mission ‘to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.’”
“We have the resources in place in Central Illinois 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,” Jourdan Sorrell, Comcast’s Sr. Manager of External Affairs, said during his remarks in Springfield today.
According to Sorrell, those resources include a combination of:
- Programs like Internet Essentials that can connect low-income households to the Internet;
- The BGCCI and a host of additional partners that 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 of Springfield and provides the same services in every neighborhood – regardless of zip code. Comcast has 1,000 miles of fiber and other network infrastructure in Springfield, including more than 28,000 WiFi hotspots in and around the city. Comcast’s network allows the company to provide Internet Essentials to households across the city and the region 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.
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.