Comcast and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Announce Pilot Program to Close the Digital Divide for South Florida Public Housing Residents

Sigue a La Prensa en Facebook

Since 2011, Internet Essentials has connected 2.4 million Americans,
or 600,000 low-income families, to the Internet at home

MIAMI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Comcast today announced a pilot program with the U.S. Department of
Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) ConnectHome
initiative to help tackle the digital divide for public housing
residents in South Florida. Eligibility for Internet
Essentials
, Comcast’s acclaimed, high-speed Internet adoption
program, will be immediately extended to any public housing resident in
Miami-Dade County. This pilot is also being introduced in other areas of
the country, including Nashville, Philadelphia, and Seattle.


Comcast Corporation Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity
Officer David L. Cohen and HUD Secretary Julián Castro made today’s
announcements alongside Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Giménez and
City of Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado at Rainbow Village, a public housing
development in Miami. At the event, Comcast technicians were on hand to
install Internet service on the spot. Comcast also provided a free
laptop computer and six months’ worth of complimentary Internet
Essentials Internet service to every Rainbow Village household. In
addition, the company donated 15 new computers to the Rainbow Village
computer lab where digital literacy training sessions take place after
school and where students can do homework and adults can get online.

In Florida, Internet
Essentials
has connected more than 274,000 low-income individuals to
online access at home, including more than 111,000 living in Miami-Dade.
Nationally, Internet Essentials has connected more than 600,000
low-income families to the Internet at home, benefitting more than 2.4
million Americans. In fact, 2015 was the program’s most successful year,
with a 30 percent increase in enrollments over 2014.

“Internet access at home is essential to succeed in today’s digital
world on all fronts, from employment to education. Unfortunately, a
cruel irony is at work, as the majority of low-income families,
including those in public housing, who truly need the transformative
power of the Internet are not connected,” said Cohen. “Comcast’s
collaboration with ConnectHome will not only build a bridge for those
living in public housing to cross the digital divide, but the Internet
also gives them a ladder to educational and vocational resources that
can improve the quality of their lives and help them claim their
American dream.”

“ConnectHome is expanding opportunity for the next generation, preparing
them for success in the 21st century,” said Castro. “We’re
thankful to have Comcast join the ConnectHome initiative and our
continued efforts to close the digital divide. Through their commitment
and all of our great stakeholders, public and private, we’re leveling
the playing field for public housing residents across the nation and
opening doors to prosperity that otherwise would remain closed.”

Between 2009 and 2014, broadband service providers spent over $422
billion on capital investments, and three in four American households
now use broadband at home. Despite this significant progress, one in
four American households still don’t access the Internet at home,
particularly lower-income families with children. While nearly
two-thirds of America’s lowest-income households own a computer, less
than half have a home Internet subscription. HUD’s ConnectHome
initiative strives to ensure that students can access the same level of
high-speed Internet at home that they possess in their classrooms.

Today’s announcement marks the eighth time in five years Comcast has
expanded eligibility for the program, which underscores the company’s
commitment to attacking the digital divide. Originally, Internet
Essentials was offered to families with children eligible to receive a
free school lunch from the National School Lunch Program. It was first
expanded to children also eligible for the reduced price school lunch
program. Comcast then expanded eligibility to include families with
children in parochial, private, charter, and cyber schools, as well as
students who are home schooled. Last year, Comcast extended the program
two more times, on a pilot basis, to low-income seniors and low-income
community college students. In addition, Comcast has expanded the number
of schools where every student in the school will be deemed eligible for
the program so long as a certain percentage of the kids in that school
are NSLP eligible – from 70 percent, to 50 percent, and now to 40
percent. As a result, Comcast estimates auto-enrollment now applies to
about half of the 48,000 schools across its service area.

Internet Essentials includes high-speed Internet service with download
speeds up to 10 Mbps, a free Wi-Fi router, access to free digital
literacy training, and the option to purchase a computer for less than
$150. Public housing residents in the four pilot markets (Miami-Dade
County and the cities of Nashville, Philadelphia, Seattle) are eligible
to apply, regardless of whether they have a child in the National School
Lunch Program or not. To apply, visit www.InternetEssentials.com
or call 1-855-847-3356.

Internet Essentials Key Investments

Since 2011, Comcast has invested more than $280 million in cash and
in-kind support to help fund digital literacy training and education
initiatives, reaching nearly 4.4 million people through national and
local nonprofit community partners. Through the end of February 2016,
Comcast has:

  • Provided more than 47,000 subsidized computers at less than $150 each.
  • Distributed for free nearly 51 million Internet Essentials program
    materials.
  • Broadcast more than 8.3 million public service announcements, valued
    at more than $100 million.
  • Welcomed 5 million visitors to the Internet Essentials websites in
    English and Spanish and its Online Learning Center.
  • Fielded more than 3.9 million phone calls to our Internet Essentials
    call center.
  • Made Internet Essentials available in nearly 48,000 schools in more
    than 5,000 school districts, in 39 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Partnered with 9,000 community-based organizations, government
    agencies, and federal, state, and local elected officials to spread
    the word.

About ConnectHome

Building on the Obama Administration’s goal to expand high speed
broadband to all Americans, in July 2015, President Obama and U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián
Castro announced, ConnectHome,
an initiative to extend affordable broadband access to families living
in HUD-assisted housing. Through ConnectHome, Internet Service
Providers, non-profits and the private sector are offering broadband
access, technical training, digital literacy programs, and devices for
residents in assisted housing units in 28 communities across the nation.
ConnectHome creates a platform to help ensure that students have access
to high-speed Internet for studying and doing their homework at home, as
well as in school.

About Internet Essentials

Internet
Essentials
from Comcast is the nation’s largest and most
comprehensive high-speed Internet adoption program. It provides low-cost
high-speed Internet service for $9.95 a month plus tax; the option to
purchase an Internet-ready computer for under $150; and multiple options
to access free digital literacy training in print, online and in-person.
The company is conducting Internet Essentials pilot programs for
ConnectHome communities, low-income senior citizens in Boston, Palm
Beach County, San Francisco, and Seattle, and low-income community
college students in Illinois and Colorado. In non-pilot communities,
eligible families must have at least one child eligible to participate
in the National School Lunch Program, including public, parochial,
private, charter, and homeschooled students. For more information, or to
apply for the program, visit www.InternetEssentials.com
or call 1-855-846-8376. Spanish speakers should call 1-855-765-6995.

About Comcast Corporation

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq:CMCSA) is a global media and technology
company with two primary businesses, Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal.
Comcast Cable is one of the nation’s largest video, high-speed Internet
and phone providers to residential customers under the XFINITY brand and
also provides these services to businesses. NBCUniversal operates news,
entertainment and sports cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast
networks, television production operations, television station groups,
Universal Pictures and Universal Parks and Resorts. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com
for more information.

Contacts

Comcast
Mindy Kramer, 561-322-8646
Mindy_Kramer@cable.comcast.com
or
Cindy
Arco, 904-738-3412
Cynthia_Arco@cable.comcast.com