Cable and broadband giant Comcast on Tuesday announced it is doubling the download speed to 10 megabits per second and offering Wi-Fi at no additional cost with its Internet Essentials broadband service for low-income families with children. The service prices $10 a month, 1 / 4 of Comcast’s promotional worth for a barely quicker Web velocity.
Comcast is doubling the speed of its current service to up to 10 megabits per second, which the company says is enough to power multiple devices simultaneously.
The need for a senior program, where the digital divide is also wide, came to light in feedback from customers and nonprofit partners, Cohen said. According to Pew Research Center, just 47 percent, or less than half, of seniors (aged 65 and older) have high-speed Internet at home. “And it has become crystal clear that a barrier to senior adoption is digital literacy”.
“Every child in that school is eligible”, Cohen says.
“The Digital Divide isn’t confined to certain buildings or neighborhoods in Detroit or in any other city or town”, said Tim Collins, Comcast’s Heartland Regional Senior Vice President, in a statement. The company’s goal is to expand the senior program nationally.
Through the end of June 2015, Comcast said it has also dedicated more than $1 million in grants to create Internet Essentials Learning Zones; provided more than 41,000 subsidized computers (at least than $150 each); distributed for free almost 46 million Internet Essentials program materials; broadcast more than 7 million public service announcements, valued at more than $90 million; and fielded more than 3.2 million phone via its Internet Essentials call center. Also, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County School Districts are all in the top five best performing school districts in the country for leading the way in closing the digital divide with Internet Essentials, Comcast said. A number of additional pilot programs will be announced in the weeks ahead, Cohen said. For those already signed up, the speed upgrade came by rebooting cable modems.
Comcast said that Internet Essentials will help people cut down on wireless data use, as they connect their devices to Comcast’s Wi-Fi while in the home. “We’re excited about this opportunity to bring the power of the Internet to this new demographic, so they can stay in touch with family and friends and learn how to do things online like enroll in health care and pay bills”. Exactly how qualifying participants will be vetted isn’t clear yet, with Comcast suggesting that, just as the existing program focuses on low-income families that might sacrifice getting online to save money, so the most affected senior citizens will need to be targeted.