BROCKTON, Mass., Sept. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Comcast's Greater Boston Region today announced the launch of Internet Essentials, a program which provides families with children in Massachusetts who are eligible to receive free lunches under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) with low-cost Internet service, affordable computers and digital literacy training. The goal of Internet Essentials is to help close the digital divide and ensure more Americans benefit from all the Internet has to offer. 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.
"Massachusetts' history is marked by innovation, and we continue to build partnerships that foster greater creativity and innovation to better the Commonwealth," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "I applaud Comcast's efforts in launching the Internet Essentials program in Massachusetts to help bridge the digital divide. Through this broadband initiative, eligible, low-income families will receive increased access and educational resources that will lead to opportunities today and in the future for their families."
"We live in a digital age, and without digital access you can fall behind," said Mayor Linda M. Balzotti. "In these difficult financial times, officials like myself are facing the challenge of allocating limited resources – weighing funding for libraries, where residents have traditionally been able to get online for free, against areas like public safety. It is not an easy choice. Families also face difficult choices, and by providing this opportunity for families of Brockton students, Comcast is making one choice easier. Brockton students will be able to get internet access at their home at an affordable rate; not only increasing their access to information, but also unlocking the limitless potential of our young people, and I appreciate that effort."
"Internet Essentials creates new opportunities for low-income families by connecting students online with their teachers and their schools' educational resources," said Steve Hackley, senior vice president of Comcast's Greater Boston Region. "Plus, the program will enable 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 to ensure the entire household benefits from their new broadband connection."
Internet Essentials participants will receive:
- Residential Internet service for $9.95 a month;
- 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 a 30-day money back guarantee and a complementary Norton™ Security Suite ($160 value) for comprehensive online security protection.
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 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 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.
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 Massachusetts, Comcast also supports City Year, Boys & Girls Clubs, Girls Inc. and provides courtesy Internet service to schools, libraries and Boys & Girls Clubs on our network.
About Comcast Corporation:
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