Comcast, Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA) and the Latin American Association (LAA) today launched Internet Essentials, an ambitious and comprehensive broadband adoption experiment. The details were announced this morning by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, U.S. Congressman John Lewis, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and David Cohen, Comcast Corporation Executive Vice President during a press conference at Drew Charter School.
The Internet Essentials program addresses three of the primary barriers to broadband adoption that research has identified –
- a lack of understanding of how the Internet is relevant and useful;
- the cost of a home computer, and
- the cost of the Internet service.
Available to 317,000 low-income families who receive a free lunch under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) in 28 metro-Atlanta area school districts, the goal of Internet Essentials is to help close the digital divide and ensure more Americans benefit from all the Internet has to offer.
“While America has increasingly become a digital nation, many Latino families are being left at a disadvantage because they don’t have Internet service at home,” said Jose Marquez, National President and CEO of Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA). “It’s crucial that Latino families have Internet services at home to increase their chances of gainful employment and a quality education. LISTA is proud of the actions that Comcast is taking to bridge the technology gap in our community. We hope that other community and government leaders will join Comcast in providing technology training and support to Nation’s growing Latino community.”
Millie Irizarry, Chief Executive Officer of the Latin American Association, said, “We’re encouraged to see large corporations supporting our Latin community, especially as it pertains to education, and this new program is an excellent example of such an effort. The Internet is no longer dispensable, but an ‘essential’ item in almost every aspect of our lives from our education to our careers. It’s imperative that state and national businesses follow in the footsteps of Comcast and continue to find new and creative ways to enhance the learning experience for our Latin communities’
Internet Essentials participants will receive:
- Residential Internet service for $9.95 a month;
- No price increases, no activation fees, or equipment rental fees;
- A voucher to purchase a low-cost computer for $149.99 + tax;
- Access to free digital literacy training in print, online or in person.
- Complementary Norton™ Security Suite ($160 value) for comprehensive online security protection.
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 receives 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 and 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 the household still qualifies for the program until that child graduates from high school.
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/