Today, Comcast Executive Vice President David L. Cohen was joined by Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, Miami Dade County School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, and Miami Dade League of Cities President and Miami Beach Commissioner Deede Weithorn to relaunch Internet Essentials, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption initiative for low-income families.
Initiated in August 2011, Internet Essentials has helped more than 220,000 families – approximately 900,000 low-income individuals nationwide, – get connected to broadband in their homes. Florida has been one of Comcast’s largest partners in the endeavor with nearly 18,700 families in the South Florida area and 30,000 in the entire state being served by the company’s state of the art network.
“For school students today, digital literacy is no longer an option, it is a necessity,” said Carvalho. “Our curriculum and informational systems are all rapidly moving to the digital world, which means getting students connected to the Internet becomes a more critical task.”
As Internet Essentials enters its third year of attempting to bridge the digital divide in America, it is taking new steps to expand and improve the program. In addition to increasing its broadband speeds to 5 Mbps downstream and up to 1 Mbps upstream,
- Comcast has streamlined enrollment by expanding the instant approval process for families whose students attend schools where 70 percent or more of the students are eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program. Eligibility has also been expanded to include families of children who attend
parochial, private, cyberschool, and homeschools, making nearly 2.6 million families nationwide eligible for Internet Essentials. Families interested in applying to the program can visit InternetEssentials.com and InternetBasico.com, and can even receive assistance in paying for the service by leveraging newly minted Opportunity Cards available through various community partners.
Known for not only increasing Internet access to low-income families, Internet Essentials also helps provide computers and digital literacy training to those in need. In the time since the program first launched, Comcast has distributed more than 18,000 subsidized computers and trained nearly 20,000 people.
“Thanks to community leaders and schools nationwide, more than 220,000 families or 900,000 low-income Americans now have the opportunity to use the power of the Internet at home to get ahead in work, education, and life, just by doing things online that many of us take for granted, such as completing homework, applying for a job, researching a health condition, or paying a bill,” said Cohen. “Together, with cities like Miami, we are making real and significant progress in closing the digital divide in America.”