Earlier this week, Comcast Executive Vice President David L. Cohen announced the indefinite extension of the company’s Internet Essentials program, which provides broadband Internet service for low-income families. The program launched in 2011 and, since then, has provided 1.2 million low-income Americans, or around 300,000 families with in-home Internet access and options for digital literacy training. By extending Internet Essentials beyond its initial three-year commitment, Comcast is advancing President Obama’s Connect Ed goal of connecting 99 percent of U.S. students to Internet service in the classroom within five years.
In just over two and a half years, Internet Essentials has connected more than 24,400 low-income Marylanders – or more than 6,100 families from across the state.
“Here at Comcast, addressing the digital divide head-on has long been a priority for our company,” continued Cohen. “We believe the Internet has the power to transform lives, strengthen communities, and inspire a new generation of leaders."
During a national teleconference on Tuesday, March 4, 2014, Cohen named the Baltimore County Public School (BCPS) system as one of five districts nationwide to receive Gold Medal recognition for driving substantial year-over-year increases in Internet Essentials enrollment.
As a way of saluting the school district’s accomplishment and furthering its commitment to closing the digital divide, Comcast is offering Internet Essentials-eligible families in Baltimore County the opportunity to receivesix months of complimentary Internet service if they apply and are approved for the program by Tuesday, March 18th.
"We would like to thank Comcast for this recognition and for their assistance to families in Baltimore County. Providing home Internet service at an affordable rate is critical to ensuring our students can access helpful online learning resources beyond the classroom. This is how we will prepare them for their future and to be globally competitive,” said Dr. Dallas Dance, Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent.
"I'm grateful to Dr. Dance, his team at Baltimore County Public Schools and Comcast for working to empower local families with broadband access. Any time the private sector steps forward to increase access to the digital world for more students, it is beneficial for everyone," added Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.
Internet Essentials, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program, offers eligible families 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.
For more information on Internet Essentials, including eligibility requirements, or to apply for the program, visit www.InternetEssentials.com or call 1-855-846-8376. For Spanish, visit www.InternetBasico.comor call 1-855-765-6995.