Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Comcast: Net Access Program Is Working Outreach, Costs, Speed Improved

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Comcast: Net Access Program Is Working Outreach, Costs, Speed Improved

Article excerpt

After a slow start and several program adjustments, Comcast officials say the Philadelphia company's Internet Essentials Program is moving full steam ahead.

The program created to expand Internet access for low-income families has provided $9.99-a-month broadband Internet service to hundreds of thousands of families nationwide and has distributed more than 15,000 netbook computers at less than $150 each in less than two years.

In Pennsylvania, more than 7,800 people have received discounted services, including 1,568 families in the Pittsburgh metro area, Comcast officials said. Additionally, the program has provided digital literacy education to more than 10,000 people across the country through partner community organizations.

Comcast executive vice president David Cohen applauded the progress, but said more work needs to be done. He spoke during a conference call announcing the results.

"In just 16 months, Internet Essentials has helped put a real dent in the digital divide and connected more than 150,000 low income families or 600,000 Americans to the power of the Internet, most for the first time in their lives," he said. "To put that in perspective, that's approximately the entire population of Washington, D.C., or Boston."

Mr. Cohen acknowledged the success came after a series of hiccups following the program's launch.

Initially, only families with children who qualified for free lunch under the National School Lunch Program could participate, and then the application process could take weeks.

In January 2012, Comcast adjusted its guidelines so families whose children receive reduced-priced lunch also would qualify and it allowed instant approval for families in schools with the highest percentages of children eligible for the national lunch program.

The company also increased the speed of the discounted Internet services, created a bulk purchase program for community partners, expanded digital literacy materials available online and formed a partnership with broadband adoption program Connect2Compete to reduce prices and expand options for hardware.

While the addition of the reduced school lunch program alone increased program eligibility by 2. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.