Date posted: September 22, 2011
Earlier this week, Comcast rolled out Internet Essentials at Ballou High School in Washington, DC. The program is aimed at stimulating broadband adoption among low-income families with school-aged children. Internet Essentials offers deeply-discounted broadband service, a discounted price on a netbook, and free digital literacy training for families with a child in the federal free lunch program. It will be rolling out across Comcast’s service areas over the next few weeks. Read all of the details here.
Access to the internet is becoming increasingly important for education, news, health information and employment opportunities. The Federal Communications Commission places a high value on broadband connections for all Americans. “Broadband is our central platform in this 21st century for economic growth, innovation, and information. Broadband can be the great equalizer giving every American with an Internet connection access to a world of new opportunities that might previously have been beyond their reach,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski at the event. Yet a substantial number of households do not subscribe.
In his remarks, Genachowski identified three main barriers to broadband adoption: cost, digital literacy, and relevance. Many people can’t afford broadband, simply do not see the relevancy and importance of broadband to their lives, or may be afraid of encountering digital dangers.
“The Internet Essentials program takes big steps to address these issues,” the Chairman said. By helping to close the adoption gap, this program will prepare the next generation, create new opportunities for more jobs and economic growth, and will make a positive difference in the lives of many Americans.”
While the benefits of technology are sometimes oversold by tech enthusiasts, the Internet has become a crucial part of American’s social, educational, civic, and economic life. Families without a connection face major barriers to participating fully in the American Dream. Internet Essentials won’t erase all the difficulties faced by struggling families, but it will help level the playing field.
Comcast is the nation’s largest Internet service provider, with operates in 39 states and Washington, DC. If you’re a PTA or community leader and want to get the word out to local families who could benefit from this program, go to the Internet Essentials Partner site for free informational materials in English and Spanish.