In the last six months, Comcast has added 90,000 accounts to its Internet Essentials plan, which makes broadband available at more affordable rates for low-income customers. The company said the recent additions set a new six-month enrollment record for the program.
More than 450,000 families in total have been connected to the internet as a result of this program; benefiting 1.8 million low-income Americans.
Internet Essentials aims to close the gap between Americans with respect to digital literacy.
With the Internet Essentials program, Comcast has narrowed its focus on eliminating the primary barriers to digital literacy for low-income students and their families.
The program provides broadband for around $10 per month, the opportunity to buy an internet-ready computer for $150, and access to free digital literacy training via internet, in-person, or print form.
The company said it has invested over $225 million via cash and in kind donations.
Those eligible to participate must have at least one child eligible for the National School Lunch Program, and includes public, parochial, private, and homeschooled students.
The NAACP called Internet Essentials “the largest experiment ever” in closing the digital literacy gap.
The three prominent cities most affected by the broadband adoption program include Chicago, Miami, and Atlanta.
Almost 25 percent of Chicagoland’s eligible population has signed up for the program, which means over 200,000 low-income citizens are now benefiting. 28 percent of Miami’s eligible metro population is enrolled, or 166,000 low-income citizens. 20 percent of Atlanta’s eligible population, or 100,000 low-income citizens, has enrolled.
The numbers include data from the former head of research for the FCC’s National Broadband Plan, Dr. John B. Horrigan. A Comcast spokesman said Horrigan was approached by Comcast while conducting freelance work one or two years ago to conduct independent research related to the Internet Essentials program.
Horrigan’s second study entitled Deepening Ties was released today and tracks the progression of non-adoption of broadband, and aims to shed light on the progression of digital literacy in America.
Although the Internet Essentials program is enacted through a company which covers one-third of the country, the program has affected one quarter of the nation’s broadband adoption growth for low-income families with children.
Filed Under: Industry regulations