“The Digital Divide isn’t confined to certain buildings or neighborhoods in Chattanooga or in any other city or town”, Comcast Regional Senior Vice President Doug Guthrie said in a statement today.
Launched back in 2011, Internet essentials offers a $9.95 package for families that satisfy a few basic criteria, like having a child in the National School Lunch Program.
Comcast said Tuesday it is boosting the speed of its discounted Internet service for low-income families to 10 megabits per second, underscoring the rapid increase in demands Americans are placing on their online connections.
Comcast aims to help complete the continuum of connectivity, in which students spend the school day in wired classrooms, stay connected after school in Learning Zones and end their days connected at home, where families have online access through the Internet Essentials program, Cohen said.
Philadelphia-based Comcast stated Tuesday that greater than 500,000 households have been Web Necessities clients.
Internet Essentials is available to families with at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program. According to Pew Research Center, just 47 percent, or less than half, of seniors (aged 65 and older) have high-speed Internet at home. Only 25 percent of those seniors with household incomes less than $30,000 have access at home, versus 82 percent of those with incomes at or above $75,000. Existing customers who would like a Wi-Fi router just need to call the dedicated call center and either request to have one shipped to them for free, or they can schedule a professional installation, also for no additional cost.
Cohen made the announcement in West Palm Beach, Fla., where the first pilot program will begin with the Urban League of Palm Beach. To get the faster Net downloads, customers need only reboot their cable modems. New customers will have the option to receive a Wi-Fi router when they sign up. Now, Comcast is upgrading the standard router, as well as increasing the speed at which it will download. More than 182,000 of them live in South Florida.
Distributed for free almost 46 million Internet Essentials program materials. Comcast has invested more than $240 million in cash and support to provide digital literacy training – “that’s the differentiator”, Cohen said.
For more information or to apply for the program, visit www.InternetEssentials.com or call 1-855-846-8376, or, for Spanish, 1-855-765-6995.
That increase comes after the company announced last year that families with late bills could sign up for the service – a distinction that had previously ruled out many families from subscribing.
However, Comcast is also making auto-enrollment more encompassing.