As COVID-19 highlights the digital divide, Comcast is continuing a 10-year-old program that expands internet access in underserved communities.
Comcast’s Internet Essentials program provides home high-speed internet for about $10 a month to families who could not otherwise afford it.
“We’ve been on a mission to address digital inequities in under-resourced communities through Internet Essentials for a decade and there’s never been a greater need than now,” said Dave Watson, president and CEO of Comcast Cable.
“As a media and technology company, we have a unique opportunity to provide a meaningful connection to the communities we serve—whether that’s through access to the internet, programs to support creativity and digital literacy and skills training for young people, or workforce development opportunities for adults.”
To be eligible, applicants must qualify for programs like school lunch, housing assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, SSI benefits, or similar services.
They must live in an area where Comcast internet service is available, and they must not have had Comcast service in the past 90 days.
The company said households that owe money to Comcast may still qualify if approved by June 30, 2021.
‘Create New Opportunities’
Watson said the company’s goal is to ‘help connect as many Americans to the internet as possible and create new opportunities for underrepresented communities through the education, resources, and skills training they need to succeed in today’s digital economy.’
The Internet Essentials program is just one of Comcast’s efforts to help those facing greater challenges.
Last year, it launched a program to help minority-owned small businesses, including those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Comcast is also creating more than 1,000 Lift Zones in community centers across the country by working with its network of thousands of nonprofit partners and city leaders.
Lift Zones provide safe spaces for students to access free WiFi so they can participate in distance learning and do their schoolwork.
Comcast is now speeding its timeline to connect 1,000 Lift Zones by the end of this year—more than a year ahead of its original plan.
“Our commitment has never been stronger, and we are dedicated to leveling the playing field and making a lasting impact for generations to come,” Watson said.