Internet Essentials From Comcast

Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith and Comcast Executive Vice President of Communications and Data Service, Cathy Avgiris, joined us today to announce year two of Internet Essentials, an ambitious and comprehensive broadband adoption program designed to help close the digital divide for low-income Americans.  In its first full year of availability, nearly 100,000 families or more than 400,000 Americans are now online and Comcast continues to enhance the program with new features and processes designed to accelerate enrollment in the program.

To kick off year two of Internet Essentials, Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith, Mt. Hood Head Start and Albina Head Start have all worked together to give graduating Head Start kids from the Portland metro area another head start for Kindergarten – new netbooks. Through a program funded through Multnomah County, eligible Head Start Graduate families will be able to sign up for Internet Essentials and receive a computer for no cost to them.

The first families who have qualified for this program will attend a Welcome to Internet Essentials Event on September 13 at 3:30 p.m. at the McCormick Matthews Center Albina Head Start, 6930 NE Kerby. Other graduate families of Albina Head Start or Mt. Hood Head Start who are interested in becoming a part of the program are encouraged to call their local Head Start office.

Internet Essentials addresses three 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.  Program participants receive:

  • ResidentialInternet service for $9.95 a month plus applicable taxes;
  • No price increases, no activation fees, or equipment rental fees;
  • A voucherto purchase a low-cost computer for $149.99 plus tax; and
  • Access to free digital literacy training in print, online andin-person.

A household is eligible to participate if it meets all of the following criteria:

  • Is located where Comcast offers Internet service;
  • Has at least one child who is eligible to receivea free or reduced school lunch under the NSLP;
  • 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, through the end of the 2013-2014 school year. Any household that qualifies during this three-year period will remain eligible for Internet Essentials if at least one child eligible for a free or reduced lunch remains living in the household.

In Oregon and Southwest Washington, Comcast is working with a growing network of community based organizations to spread the word about Internet Essentials and provide digital literacy training.Those organizations include Native American and Family Youth Center, Lower Columbia CAP, Portland Public Schools, local Boys & Girls Clubs, and NextStep Recycling.

For general information about Internet Essentials, please visit internetessentials.com  for English and visit internetbasico.com for Spanish. Educators or third-parties interested in helping to spread the word can find more information by clicking here. Parents looking to enroll in the program can call 1-855-846-8376 or, for Spanish, 1-855-765-6995.
 

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