At Comcast, we are forging community partnerships to bridge the digital divide through a program we just relaunched in Atlanta called Internet Essentials. It is offered to families with at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program. Internet Essentials is also available to parochial, private, cyberschool and home-schooled students. Last week, we announced that Internet Essentials has connected more than 1 million low-income Americans, or 250,000 families, to broadband service at home, most for the first time. More than 14,000 of these families are in metro Atlanta area, one of the program’s strongest performing cities.
Internet Essentials addresses myriad barriers such as cost, digital literacy and the perceived lack of relevance of online content. The program offers free digital literacy training in print, online and in-person, as well as low-cost broadband service (at $9.95 a month) and the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for $150. Alongside our local partners, we have trained more than 20,000 low-income Americans in basic Internet skills since the inception of the Internet Essentials program.
That’s a good start, but clearly there is more work to be done to bridge the digital divide in metro Atlanta and across the country.
David L. Cohen is executive vice president of Comcast Corp.