Comcast celebrates the first anniversary of its Internet Essentials Program
, declaring it a great success, and is now moving into year two. "In less than a year we've signed up over 100,000 families," says Comcast Corporation Executive Vice President David L. Cohen, who multiplies that number to estimate the number of individuals accessing the low cost service at 400,000.
The average family pays upwards of $150 per month for Comcast's Triple Play package, making home internet access a luxury that's out of reach for the region's many low-income households. But Cohen notes that getting on the web is increasingly vital for employment, services and information. In sheer numbers, adoption for avagerage income Americans is somewhere around 75 to 80%, but for low-income families, the number drops dramatically to under 25%.
Comcast calls Internet Essentials the largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program anywhere in America, providing low-cost broadband service for $9.95 a month, the option to purchase a full-service, Internet ready computer for under $150 and options for digital literacy training in print, online or in-person for eligible families.
New this year are expanded benefits for children enrolled in reduced school lunch programs. Also, says Cohen, Comcast is looking to create an echo chamber effect, getting out information through word of mouth at churches and schools, though neighbors, and via increased reliance on nonprofit partners like OIC
Cohen adds that it's even easier to sign up this year, and Comcast will follow up with potential customers. "As a public policy matter, it's inconceivable that the ability to access internet should be determined by where you live or your parents' income. This program is designed to level access the playing field."
Interested families can call 855-8-INTERNET, or 855-846-8376, to get started.
Source: David L. Cohen, Comcast
Writer: Sue Spolan