Discounted internet program expands in Georgia

Comcast’s Internet Essentials program has expanded in Georgia. AJC FILE PHOTO

A program that works to improve residents’ access to the internet has expanded in Georgia.

Comcast's Internet Essentials program, which gives low-income residents discounted computers and monthly internet access, will now include households that have people with disabilities, in addition to all other low-income households.

In a statement, the company said the expansion was the most significant change in the program’s history.

In Georgia, there are already 480,000 people who get their internet access through the program, the company said, including 336,000 people in metro Atlanta.

David Cohen, the chief diversity officer of Comcast NBCUniversal, said in a statement that the company's goal was to "meaningfully and significantly close the digital divide for low-income Americans."

“The Internet is arguably the most important technological innovation in history, and it is unacceptable that we live in a country where millions of families and individuals are missing out on this life-changing resource,” he said.

To apply for the program, low-income households need to show they participate in a federal assistance program, including Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Supplemental Security Income.

Households were already eligible if they have a student who participates in the National School Lunch Program, lives in public housing or receives HUD Housing Assistance, or participates in the Veterans Pension Program. Some low-income seniors and community college students are also eligible.

For more details, see The program includes free digital literacy training; the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for less than $150; and low-cost, high-speed Internet service for $9.95 a month plus tax.