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Comcast Offers Struggling Families Affordable Internet

Families with children receiving a free or reduced price school lunch are eligible to receive Comcast broadband Internet access for less than $10 a month.

Families with at least one child receiving free or reduced price school lunch are eligible for a Comcast program that provides broadband Internet access for less than $10 a month.

The Comcast program, Internet Essentials, is in its second year and is part of a larger, industry-wide effort to increase high-speed Internet access among low-income families.

The monthly rate is locked in and participants do not have to pay activation or equipment rental fees. In addition, Comcast also offers digital literacy training materials.

"A digital divide exists, and low-income families who don't have Internet access at home are being left behind," said Alisha Martin, a regional Comcast spokeswoman.

"So, the Internet Essentials program was designed to help close the digital divide and get more Americans, more families, connected to the Internet so they can experience the tremendous benefits that the Internet offers."

To be eligible, families must live in an area serviced by Comcast and have at least one child in their household receiving free or reduced school lunch. They cannot have subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the past 90 days, nor can they possess any unreturned Comcast equipment or have any overdue Comcast bills.

Research shows that the three primary barriers to broadband adoption are the cost of Internet service, the cost of a home computer and a lack of understanding that the Internet is useful and relevant, Martin said.

The Internet Essentials program aims to address all three of those issues. Aside from the low-cost monthly access, Comcast will offer qualifying families a low-cost computer for just under $150 and will provide online, print and in-person technical assistance and digital literacy training in English and Spanish.

The digital literacy programs teach everything from basic computer skills like how to access the Internet and email to more practical lessons like how to look for a job, find health care information or use social media. Training videos feature Al Roker and other NBC personalities.

Nationally, Comcast estimates at least 100,000 families — or about 400,000 individuals — now have broadband access thanks to the Internet Essentials program.

Last year, the program was only available to families of students who received free lunch. Broadening eligibility to include families with students who receive reduced-price lunch should make another 300,000 households eligible for the program, Martin said.

Comcast will continue to enroll families through at least the 2013-14 school year, and those families will remain eligible for the discounted rate as long as one child receives free or reduced lunch.

To sign up for Internet Essentials, families can call toll-free 855-846-8376 (for English) or 855-765-6995 (for Spanish) to get the process started. If eligible, a third-party company will verify that the family has at least one child receiving free or reduced price school lunch and will complete the registration process.

Visit Comcast for more information about Internet Essentials in English, or for information in Spanish. 

Educational and community leaders interested in spreading the word or purchasing bulk accounts can visit: www.InternetEssentials.com/partner.

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Harry Callahan September 09, 2012 at 02:03 PM
If people vote like the way they did in 2008, we won't have a pot to P in,if you can't see it now well see you in the streets of chaos.GOD Bless AMERICA and whats left of it.
Stephen C. Lingle September 09, 2012 at 02:04 PM
This is a great plan, all the rest of us on fixed income pick up the rest of the cost. Very much like the free cell phones, with the rest of us picking up the cost. Remember we didn't build it we don't have to when other people are paying for it.
Stephen C. Lingle September 09, 2012 at 02:07 PM
It is always easy to give away things others pay for. Seniors on fixed income pay full price for cable with the rates going up every year. This is like the free cell phone deal that the rest of us pay for.
VMPK September 09, 2012 at 02:54 PM
The district 140 hasn't made it any easier to get help from the government or for our children to go to school their! I live w/ my parents and my son got help for preschool through the district, but when my son went through the program it was free and now its a thousand dollars a kid to go through it and for 2 hours! I couldn't get any help later cause it was too hard to get approved and I live w/ my parents and have every year since my son started school and I have to bring them all these papers signed by my parents and their bills so they can copy them for residency proof! So I don't think district 140 has made anything easier! My opinion though!
The Guru September 10, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Last time I checked, the Library has free internet. Why should they have it piped to their house?

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