Comcast’s Internet Essential Program, created through its deal with NBC-Universal to provide low-cost internet to low-income families seems to be working. In a press release today, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, says it now serves 100,000 families, 7,000 from Chicago alone, bringing 400,000 individuals online.
Since its launch Comcast has:
- Doubled broadband speeds to up to 3 Mbps downstream and up to 768 Kbps upstream;
- Upgraded the free Internet safety software to include the Constant Guard Protection Suite, which includes top-rated Norton Security Suite, identity theft protection and more;
- Enriched digital literacy training efforts both online and in-person, including offering a series of short videos, featuring NBC and Telemundo news personalities Al Roker, Kate Snow, Jenna Wolfe and Jose Diaz-Balart, discussing how to use job search tools and social networking site as well as tips for what parents should know about cyber bullying;
- Streamlined the approval process by providing an instant approval process for all students who attend schools with the highest percentage of NSLP participation, which includes Provision 2 schools;
- Introduced a bulk order program that empowers community-based organizations to purchase Internet Essentials accounts so they can connect the eligible families they serve.
It makes sense, make things affordable and accessible and people will have access, it really can be that simple. Internet Essentials costs$9.95 a month.
Who is qualified? I wish all of us, but for now families that have at least one child with free or reduced-price lunch are eligible for the service. According to Comcast, roughly 2.3 million families are qualified for the program.
Well that’s pretty awesome. Can’t complain about having access to the internet for 1o bucks. If programs like this are the answer to getting more low-income families the digital resources they need, lets continue to create and support them.
“It is imperative that Chicago become a more digitally connected city so all of our children have the same opportunities and our adults can find jobs and help grow the city’s economy,” Mayor Emanuel said.
This is true for every city in the world.