SVO Member News: California Leads the Nation in Closing the Digital Divide with Comcast’s Internet Essentials Program

Comcast Internet Essentials

Today, Comcast Corporation announced that its acclaimed Internet Essentials program, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive high-speed Internet adoption program, has now connected more than four million low-income Americans, in one million households, to high-speed Internet service at home. The State of California leads the country, having connected more than 150,000 low-income households benefiting more than 600,000 Californians.

The Company also announced three key program enhancements:

  • 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 a part of the Internet Essentials low-income senior citizen pilot program.)

  • For the fourth time in six years, Comcast will increase the program’s Internet service speeds, this time from 10/1 Mbps to up to 15/2 Mbps. More speed was the number one requested enhancement from Internet Essentials customers, and this latest increase will improve streaming quality in the home (15 Mbps is three times the speed necessary to view a high definition video), especially when multiple devices are connected to the Internet at the same time.

  • To help family members connect to the Internet on the go and save money on their wireless bills, Internet Essentials customers also will now enjoy 40 hours of free out of home WiFi access per month to the company’s growing network of 18 million Xfinity WiFi hotspots. This WiFi access is being offered in addition to the free in-home WiFi Internet Essentials customers currently enjoy.

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 nonprofit 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. While this milestone is a wonderful moment to celebrate, it also inspires all of us to keep going to connect even more families to all that the Internet has to offer for education, jobs, healthcare, news, information, and entertainment.”

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. I look forward to helping to connect even more Spanish-speakers to the amazing resources this program offers.”

About Internet Essentials

Internet Essentials from Comcast is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive high-speed Internet adoption program for low-income Americans. 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. For more information, or to apply for the program, visit www.InternetEssentials.com or call 1-855-846-8376. Spanish-only speakers should call 1-855-765-6995.

About Comcast

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company with two primary businesses, Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is one of the nation’s largest video, high-speed internet, and phone providers to residential customers under the XFINITY brand, and also provides these services to businesses. It also provides wireless and security and automation services to residential customers under the XFINITY brand. NBCUniversal operates 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.