Thursday, August 4, 2011

Comcast Announces Ambitious Initiative to Help Close the Digital Divide for Hispanics

MIAMI, Aug 04, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Comcast Corporation, one of the nation's leading media, entertainment and communications companies, announced today the launch of Internet Essentials, an ambitious and comprehensive broadband adoption initiative designed to help bridge the digital divide in America. Offered to low-income families with children who are eligible to receive a free school lunch as part of their enrollment in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Internet Essentials will provide families with low-cost monthly Internet service, an affordable computer and digital literacy training, available in both English and Spanish for Hispanic households.

The program, which was officially kicked off to the Hispanic community today by Comcast Corporation Executive Vice President David L. Cohen, will be rolled out in more than 4,000 school districts within 39 states, plus the District of Columbia. Internet Essentials could be particularly impactful in the Hispanic community given that Hispanic children make up almost one-third (32%) of all children receiving free lunches through the NSLP.

According to Cohen, "Internet Essentials represents an important opportunity for Comcast to help bridge both the digital and cultural divide for Hispanics in the U.S. This program will not only help connect Hispanic students with their teachers and other educational resources, it will also help members of their households do things like apply for jobs online, improve language skills, or learn more about healthcare services available where they live."

Internet Essentials addresses what research has identified as the three primary barriers to broadband adoption, which include: A lack of understanding of how the Internet is relevant and useful; the cost of a home computer, and the cost of Internet service.

Service Details:

Qualified Internet Essentials families will receive:

- Residential Internet service for $9.95 a month + applicable taxes.
- A voucher to purchase a low-cost computer for $149.99 + tax.
- Access to free digital literacy training in print, online and in person.

Additional benefits include a complimentary Norton(TM) Security Suite ($160 value) for comprehensive online security protection.

Eligibility:

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 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.

About Comcast Corporation:
Comcast Corporation 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 Corporation

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