The Internet Essentials Press Conference at the Silicon Valley Capital Club, San Jose, Calif., Aug. 17. (Vansh A. Gupta/Siliconeer)
Comcast claims their Internet Essentials is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive high-speed Internet adoption program for low-income Americans. Comcast is making a few enhancements to this program.
Providing Internet service for $9.95 a month plus tax and the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for under $150, Comcast has now connected more than four million low-income Americans, in one million households, to Internet service at home. The State of California leads the country, having connected more than 150,000 low-income households benefitting more than 600,000 Californians.
The company announced three enhancements to the program:
- Comcast is expanding its pilot program for low-income senior citizens from five cities and metropolitan areas to 12 – including Fresno and Santa Clara Counties. San Francisco is already part of the pilot program.
- For the fourth time in six years, Comcast will increase the program’s Internet service speeds, from 10 Mbps to up to 15 Mbps. More speed was the number one requested enhancement from Internet Essentials customers.
- To help family members connect to the Internet on the go and save money on their wireless bills, Internet Essentials customers will now get 40 hours of free out of home Wi-Fi access per month to the company’s growing network of 18 million Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots. This Wi-Fi access is being offered in addition to the in-home Wi-Fi given to Internet Essentials customers.
In addition, Comcast today announced a six-figure digital literacy investment with five key partners in Santa Clara County — African American Community Service Agency, Asian Americans for Community Involvement, ConXion, the Silicon Valley Organization Foundation, and Somos Mayfair. These investments will be used to help connect seniors and residents of HUD-assisted housing, including public housing and Section 8 vouchers, to the Internet Essentials program. In addition, the company announced a donation of more than 100 computers for these organizations to give to individuals who need them, as well as six-month Internet Essentials Opportunity Cards to provide complimentary Internet service at their homes.
Internet Essentials has an integrated, wrap-around design meant to address each of the three major barriers to broadband adoption – digital literacy, access to computer equipment, and affordable Internet service. The program is also structured as a partnership between Comcast and thousands of school districts, libraries, elected officials, and nonprofit community partners.
David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast Corporation, made these announcements in San Jose with six-time Olympic medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who is serving, for the second year in a row, as Internet Essentials’ national spokesperson. Cohen also introduced Adamari López, host of Telemundo’s Un Nuevo Día, who is the program’s first ever national Hispanic spokesperson. Their visit in Santa Clara County is part of a multi-city tour, which will run through October.
“When we started this program six years ago, we never imagined four million low-income Americans would benefit from it,” said Cohen. “We also never would have reached this milestone without our many dedicated non-profit partners, elected officials, educators, employees, and advocates who were all united by the belief that the Internet is essential, not only to compete in the 21st century economy, but also to be connected to loved ones and the world.”
López added, “I am thrilled to be joining the Internet Essentials program as the national Hispanic spokesperson. Fifty-five percent of Internet Essentials customers are Hispanic, which shows how much they appreciate the value of the Internet because it is a connection to their families and their culture. They also value it because of what it means for education and employment opportunities.”
For more information, or to apply for the program, visit http://www.internetessentials.com/ or call 1-855-846-8376. Spanish-only speakers should call 1-855-765-6995.