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Front Page - Friday, August 16, 2019

Comcast connects 27,000 to internet

Comcast is expanding eligibility for Internet Essentials, its broadband adoption program, to include all qualified low-income households in its service areas.

The company estimates more than three million additional low-income households, including households with people with disabilities, are now eligible to apply.

Since 2011, Internet Essentials has connected more than two million households to the internet at home. This includes more than 300,000 Tennesseans and 27,000 residents in the greater Chattanooga region.

The expansion follows last year’s extension of the program to low-income veterans.

To be eligible for the program, low-income applicants must show they are participating in one or more of a dozen different federal assistance programs, including Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). A full list of these programs can be found at www.internetessentials.com.

Comcast already accepts applications from households that have a student eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program, live in public housing or receive HUD Housing Assistance, or participate in the Veterans Pension Program, as well as low-income seniors and community college students in select pilot markets.

According to U.S. Census data, households in cities with the highest poverty rates are up to 10 times more likely than those in higher earning communities not to have fixed broadband at home.

For example, in Palo Alto, California and Bethesda, Maryland – where poverty rates are very low – only about 6% of households do not have a broadband Internet subscription. But in Trenton, New Jersey and Flint, Michigan – where poverty rates are above the national average – up to 60% of households do not have fixed broadband at home.

The most significant barriers to broadband adoption in low-income communities remains digital literacy deficits, lack of digital awareness and fear of the internet. Since 2011, Comcast has invested more than $650 million to support digital literacy training and awareness, reaching more than 9.5 million low-income Americans.

In addition, the company has either sold or donated more than 100,000 discounted and heavily subsidized computers to families and veterans.

Internet Essentials includes multiple options to access free digital literacy training in print, online and in person, the option to purchase an internet-ready computer for less than $150; and low-cost, high-speed internet service for $9.95 a month plus tax.

The program is structured as a partnership between Comcast and tens of thousands of school districts, libraries, elected officials and nonprofit community partners.

Read more at www.internetessentials.com or call 855 846-8376. Spanish-only speakers can call 855 765-6995.

Source: Comcast