PHILADELPHIA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Comcast today announced several significant enhancements and milestones
Essentials, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive high-speed
Internet adoption program. The company said it plans to double the
service’s download Internet speed, offer subscribers a Wi-Fi router for
no additional cost, and conduct several pilot programs for low-income
senior citizens. The announcements reaffirm Comcast’s commitment to help
close the digital divide for low-income families and bring the
transformative power of the Internet into more American homes.
Since the program’s inception, Comcast has made 25 key enhancements to
Internet Essentials, and this is the third time in four years Comcast
has increased speeds for customers. The current speed is doubling to up
to 10 Mbps downstream, which is enough to power multiple devices
simultaneously. In addition, by offering free Wi-Fi routers, customers
will be able to connect any Internet-enabled device, including tablets
and smartphones, which could help save money on monthly wireless bills.
“We have made significant progress toward closing the digital divide for
low-income parents and children across the country. In less than four
years, Internet Essentials has connected more than 500,000 families, or
more than 2 million low-income Americans, to the power of the Internet
at home,” said David L. Cohen, Comcast Corporation Senior Executive Vice
President and Chief Diversity Officer. “With the increase in the
program’s Internet speeds, the addition of Wi-Fi, and a streamlined
auto-enrollment process, more families will have even easier access to
the Internet and its life-changing resources for education, employment,
healthcare, communication, and entertainment.”
The pilot program for low-income seniors is designed to better
understand the unique challenges of helping them cross the digital
divide and learn how to use the Internet. According to Pew
Research Center, just 47 percent, or less than half, of seniors
(aged 65 and older) have high-speed Internet at home. When it comes to
income level, only 25 percent of seniors with household incomes below
$30,000 have home broadband, compared to 82 percent of seniors with
household incomes at or above $75,000.
The first pilot program will take place in Palm Beach County, Florida,
where Cohen was joined by City of West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio, Palm
Beach County School District Superintendent Robert Avossa, and Urban
League of Palm Beach County President and CEO Patrick J. Franklin to
make today’s announcements.
“Senior citizens can be an afterthought when it comes to addressing
digital literacy and use of the Internet,” said Franklin. “However, the
Internet has a tremendous power to help change their lives for the
better by tearing down the walls that geography may have put between
them and the ones they love. It can also help restore a sense of
community and inclusion, bonds that can weaken as we grow older.”
To receive the faster Internet speed, customers simply need to reboot
their cable modems. 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. New customers will have the
option to receive a Wi-Fi router when they sign up.
Internet Essentials Investments
Through Internet Essentials, Comcast has invested more than $240 million
in cash and in-kind support to help fund digital literacy and readiness
training and education, reaching nearly 3.2 million people through
national and local nonprofit community partners. Through the end of June
2015, Comcast has:
Dedicated more than $1 million in grants to create Internet Essentials
Learning Zones, where networks of nonprofit partners are working
together to enhance public Internet access and increase family-focused
digital literacy training in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Fresno, Miami,
and Seattle, among others.
Provided more than 41,000 subsidized computers at less than $150 each.
Distributed for free nearly 46 million Internet Essentials program
Broadcast more than 7 million public service announcements, valued at
more than $90 million.
Welcomed more than 3.5 million visitors to the Internet Essentials
websites in English and Spanish and its Online Learning Center.
Fielded more than 3.2 million phone calls to our Internet Essentials
Made Internet Essentials available in nearly 48,000 schools and more
than 5,000 school districts, in 39 states and the District of Columbia.
Partnered with 9,000 community-based organizations, government
agencies, and federal, state, and local elected officials to spread
About Internet Essentials
Essentials from Comcast is the nation’s largest and most
comprehensive high-speed Internet adoption program. It provides low-cost
high-speed Internet service for $9.95 a month plus tax; the option to
purchase an Internet-ready computer for under $150; and multiple options
to access free digital literacy training in print, online and in-person.
Eligible families must have at least one child eligible to participate
in the National School Lunch Program, including public, parochial,
private, charter, and homeschooled students. For more information, or to
apply for the program, visit www.InternetEssentials.com
or call 1-855-846-8376. Spanish speakers should call 1-855-765-6995.
About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is a global media and
technology company with two primary businesses, Comcast Cable and
NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is the nation’s largest video, high-speed
Internet and phone provider to residential customers under the XFINITY
brand and also provides these services to businesses. NBCUniversal
operates 30 news, entertainment and sports cable networks, the NBC and
Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations,
television station groups, Universal Pictures and Universal Parks and
Resorts. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com
for more information.