Comcast Partners with U.S. Housing Department to Bring High-Speed Internet to the Underprivileged
Comcast, in partnership with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is taking steps to provide broadband for access for those with the greatest financial challenges. Inadequate access to broadband can create a challenge in gaining necessary skills.
For a complex variety of reasons, 16 percent of Americans do not have access to Internet in their home, even though it access is a necessity in America for both educational and vocational capacities. Private and public entities are working together to bring Internet to the masses.
Because those in public housing have a disproportionate low access to home Internet, HUD, local housing authorities, local government, community leaders, nonprofit organizations and private sector companies like Comcast are working together to provide greater access under a program called ConnectHome. This program seeks to make broadband access understandable, easier to attain (by cutting prices) and sustainable.
Thursday, Comcast announced its dedication to the partnership through an expansion of the Internet Essentials program. Internet Essentials will include high speed Internet, download speeds of 10 mbps, a free Wi-Fi router, access to free digital literacy training, and options to purchase discounted computers for $9.95 per month.
Comcast will work directly in Miami, Nashville, Philadelphia and Seattle to extend the program’s eligibility to include children attending schools where 40 percent of students qualify for the National School Lunch Program. Internet Essentials is also available to low-income seniors and community college students.
David Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer said:
The success of Internet Essentials – which has connected substantially more families to the Internet than all other private sector programs combined – is attributable to its unique wraparound design which addresses all three of the major barriers to broadband adoption – price of the service, price of computer equipment, and most importantly of all, a bucket of digital relevance and literacy issues, which is the leading barrier to adoption.
With more public housing communities getting connected to the “transformative power” of Internet by sustainable private and public cooperation, affordable access can benefit those who need it most. ConnectHome and Internet Essentials together will bring the internet, and internet literacy, into the homes of many who could not previously afford broadband.