Comcast and Elected Officials Announce New Initiative to Help Close the Digital Divide in San Francisco Bay Area

'Internet Essentials' to Provide Low-Cost Internet Service, Affordable Computers and Digital Literacy Training to Families with Children Eligible for a Free Lunch under the National School Lunch Program

Sep 24, 2011, 16:21 ET from Comcast

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Comcast today announced the San Francisco Bay Area launch of "Internet Essentials," an ambitious and comprehensive broadband adoption program, during the Youth Tech Summit co-hosted by elected officials and Curt Henninger, Regional Senior Vice President for Comcast's California Region. Joining to mark the launch were Hydra Mendoza, President of the San Francisco Board of Education; San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee; and other dignitaries from the community.

The program addresses what research has identified as the three primary barriers to broadband adoption:  

1)  A lack of understanding of how the Internet is relevant and useful;

2)  The cost of a home computer, and

3)  The cost of Internet service.

Available to low-income families living in Comcast's service areas with children who are eligible to receive a free lunch under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the goal of "Internet Essentials" is to help ensure more American families benefit from all the Internet has to offer.

"The 'Internet Essentials' initiative provides broadband services to households who have been unable to afford it.  Access to broadband in students' homes will not only help them connect to educational resources, but will allow their parents to apply for jobs online or learn more about available government services," said Curt Henninger, Comcast's Regional Senior Vice President for California.

During the briefing at the UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco, Henninger joined the elected officials and community leaders to introduce "Internet Essentials" and promote the collaboration between businesses, school districts and community organizations who are working together to bridge the digital divide.

Service Details:

Qualified "Internet Essentials" families will receive:

  • Residential Internet service for $9.95 a month + applicable taxes;
  • No price increases, no activation fees, or equipment rental fees;
  • A voucher to purchase a low-cost computer for $149.99 + tax; and
  • Access to free digital literacy training in print, online, and in-person.

Additional benefits include a Norton™ Security Suite ($160 value), which provides comprehensive online security protection, at no additional charge.


A household is eligible to participate in the "Internet Essentials" program if it meets all of the following criteria:

  • Is located where Comcast offers Internet service;
  • Has at least one child who is eligible to receive a free school lunch under the NSLP (As an example, according to the Department of Agriculture, a household of three would have to make less than $25,000 a year in income);
  • Has not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days;
  • Does not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment.

Comcast will sign up eligible families in the program for at least three years, through the end of the 2013-2014 school year. Any household that qualifies during this three-year period will remain eligible for "Internet Essentials" provided a child eligible for a free lunch remains living in the household.

For general information about "Internet Essentials," please visit for English and visit for Spanish. Educators or third-parties interested in helping to spread the word can find more information at Parents looking to enroll in the program can call 1-855-846-8376 or, for Spanish, 1-855-765-6995.

Downloadable broadcast-quality B-roll video footage of the event and the announcement is available at:

About Comcast Cable

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) ( is one of the nation's leading providers of entertainment, information and communications products and services. Comcast is principally involved in the operation of cable systems through Comcast Cable and in the development, production and distribution of entertainment, news, sports and other content for global audiences through NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is one of the nation's largest video, high-speed Internet and phone providers to residential and business customers. Comcast is the majority owner and manager of NBCUniversal, which owns and operates entertainment and news cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, local television station groups, television production operations, a major motion picture company and theme parks.

Comcast's California Region, based in Livermore, California, serves more than 2.3 million customers in Northern and Central California. Comcast employs more than 7,000 local residents across the region.

SOURCE Comcast