BALTIMORE, Oct. 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Comcast today hosted a special event at the Towanda Community Center in Baltimore to launch Maryland's first Internet Essentials Learning Zone and kick off the fifth year of Internet Essentials, the nation's largest and most comprehensive high-speed Internet adoption program.
Since 2011, Internet Essentials has connected more than 500,000 families, or about 2 million low-income Americans, to the power of the Internet at home, including more than 12,000 families, or about 48,000 low-income residents, in Maryland. For the third time in four years, Comcast increased the speed of the program's Internet service, doubling it to up to 10 Mbps downstream. In addition, the service now offers free Wi-Fi routers enabling customers to connect multiple devices simultaneously.
The Internet Essentials Learning Zone is a network of partners working together to create a continuum of connectivity that begins online in classrooms, then extends to community centers, computer labs, and after-school programs and finally ends at home. Partnering with the City of Baltimore, the Family League of Baltimore, and additional organizations, Comcast is providing free Wi-Fi to 16 community centers, the ability to connect to the Internet at home through Internet Essentials, and access to digital literacy programs and training to help close the digital divide in the City.
"We have made significant progress toward closing the digital divide for low-income parents and children across the country and here in Baltimore," said David L. Cohen, Comcast Corporation Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer. "Making high-speed Internet available across the community through the Learning Zone, combined with the power of the Internet at home through Internet Essentials, ensures more families will have even easier access to the life-changing educational, employment, healthcare, communication, and entertainment resources available online."
Comcast, joined by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Dr. Gregory Thornton, Family League of Baltimore Senior Director of Initiatives Julia Baez, Park Heights Renaissance Executive Director Cheo Hurley, Creative City Charter School Principal Traci Johnson Mathena, and other local officials and civic and community leaders, introduced the Learning Zone and announced the latest Internet Essentials milestones and enhancements.
"I am grateful to Comcast for the opportunity being provided to Baltimore's families through this partnership," said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. "Collaborations like this one between corporate citizens, the community, and the City are crucial to closing the digital divide and securing the success of our city's digital future."
As part of the event, Comcast awarded 35 computers and six months of complimentary Internet service through Internet Essentials to 35 elementary students attending the event from Creative City Charter School. The company also announced $75,000 in digital literacy grants to the Family League of Baltimore and the 12 participating community organizations in 16 community center locations:
- Baltimore City Foundation – Community Action Partnership Centers
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore – Brooklyn O'Malley and O'Donnell Heights
- CASA de Maryland Baltimore Welcome Center
- Delta Lambda Foundation Outreach Center
- Education Based Latino Outreach
- Liberty Rec and Tech Center
- My Brother's Keeper
- St. Francis Neighborhood Center
- The 29th Street Community Center
- Towanda Community Center
- Union Baptist-Harvey Johnson Head Start
- Village Learning Place
"We can't thank Comcast enough for its support of the Towanda Community Center and the commitment to provide technology and digital literacy education to ensure families within the Park Heights neighborhoods are academically and economically successful," Hurley said of the partnership with the company.
In the Baltimore area, Comcast is working with a growing network of community-based organizations, including Associated Black Charities, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Chesapeake, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Greater Baltimore Urban League, Living Classrooms, Park Heights Renaissance, United Way of Central Maryland, and more, to spread the word about Internet Essentials and provide digital literacy training. Nearly 75 organizations across the state of Maryland have partnered with Comcast on this initiative.
About Internet Essentials
Internet Essentials from Comcast is the nation's largest and most comprehensive high-speed Internet adoption program. 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. Eligible families must have at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program, including public, parochial, private and homeschooled students.
For more information or to apply for the program, visit www.InternetEssentials.com or call 1-855-846-8376 for English or 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.
About Comcast Corporation:
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) 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. 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.
SOURCE Comcast Cable