WINOOSKI, Vt., Sept. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Governor Shumlin joined Comcast officials today for the launch of Internet Essentials, an ambitious and comprehensive broadband adoption program. The Internet Essentials program addresses three of the primary barriers to broadband adoption that research has identified – 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 the Internet service. Available to low-income families across Vermont 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 close the digital divide and ensure more Americans benefit from all the Internet has to offer.
"Today's announcement demonstrates Comcast's commitment to our community," said Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin. "Extending the opportunity for reliable Internet availability at an affordable price will assist many Vermont students and their families with research for school projects. I'm pleased to have an opportunity to participate in this announcement."
"The Internet is a great equalizer and a life-changing technology," said Mark Reilly, Senior Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs for Comcast's Northeast Division, which includes Vermont. "Internet Essentials helps level the playing field for low-income families by connecting students online with their teachers and their school's educational resources and by enabling parents to receive digital literacy training so they can do things like apply for jobs online or use the Internet to learn more about healthcare and government services available where they live."
Today, during an Internet Essentials launch event at the O'Brien Community Center in Winooski,
Governor Shumlin and Comcast's Reilly were joined by elected and community leaders, including Susan Elliot, Community Liaison from the office of U.S. Congressman Peter Welch, Vermont Speaker of the House Shap Smith, Winooski Mayor Michael O'Brien, Winooski Superintendent of Schools Mary Martineau, Boys & Girls Club of Burlington Executive Director Mary Alice McKenzie and other elected officials and community partners who came out and showed their support.
"Winooski is pleased to have Comcast invest in our community. Access to the Internet is critical to every aspect of our society," Winooski Mayor O'Brien said. "Providing the ability for our citizens to stay in touch with school happenings, research projects, and apply for jobs will create opportunities currently not available. The City is grateful for this investment."
Internet Essentials participants 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;
- Access to free digital literacy training in print, online or in person.
Additional benefits include Norton™ Security Suite ($160 value) for comprehensive online security protection at no additional cost.
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 for 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 and 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 the household still qualifies for the program until that child graduates from high school.
Digital literacy training sessions are being offered at the following locations:
- North Country Career Center, 209 Veteran's Avenue, Newport - September 28, 6:30 PM-8:00 PM
- Boys & Girls Club of Burlington, 62 Oak Street, Burlington - September 29, 5:00 PM-6:30 PM
For general information about Internet Essentials, please visit www.internetessentials.com for English and visit www.internetbasico.com for Spanish. Educators or third-parties interested in helping to spread the word can find more information at www.internetessentials.com/partner. Parents looking to enroll in the program can call 1-855-846-8376 or, for Spanish, 1-855-765-6995.
In Vermont, Comcast also supports One Economy through the Comcast Digital Connectors program at the Boys & Girls Club of Burlington. Digital Connectors is a digital learning and service program that teaches teens and young adults from diverse, low-income backgrounds how to use broadband technology and put that knowledge to work to increase digital literacy in the greater community. Comcast also provides courtesy Internet services to Boys & Girls Clubs, schools and libraries throughout the state.
About Comcast Cable
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) (www.comcast.com) 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.
SOURCE Comcast Cable