Puget Sound Ranks 9th Ranks in Low-Income Families Using Comcast Internet Essentials

Posted by at 12:19 pm on March 6, 2013

Comcast has announced Puget Sound ranks 9th in the country among urban areas for adoption of Comcast Internet Essentials, the nation’s largest low-income broadband adoption program, and the state of Washington ranks 8th among states.

In 16 months, Internet Essentials has connected more than 150,000 low-income families, or 600,000 Americans (roughly equivalent to the population of Seattle), to the Internet. In Seattle and surrounding communities, more than 5,400 families are now online because of Internet Essentials, and in Washington State, including Spokane County, more than 8,000 families are connected.

Key Program Milestones and Facts through the end of 2012

  • Printed and shipped more than 25 million pieces of collateral material for free.
  • Fielded more than one million phone calls in our dedicated Internet Essentials call center.
  • Distributed more than 15,000 computers at less than $150 each.
  • Trained 10,000 people in-person about digital literacy and how to use the Internet.
  • Received more than 800,000 visitors to the Internet Essentials and Internet Basico websites.
  • Partnered with almost 7,000 community-based organizations; government agencies and federal, state and local elected officials.

What’s New in 2013

  • Expanding eligibility criteria to include parochial, private and homeschool students.  This brings the estimated total number of eligible families to nearly 2.6 million.
  • Creating a convenient online application request form available through InternetEssentials.com to improve and accelerate the application process.  The online form makes it easier and faster than ever before to register.  This spring, families will be able to use computers at community centers, local libraries or from a friend to request an application online.
  • Introducing Opportunity Cards that enable non-profit organizations and others to pre-purchase Internet Essentials service in advance, for up to one year, for low-income families.  This provides yet another way to accelerate enrollment by empowering community-based partners, businesses and foundations to help connect families to the Internet.
  • Expanding low-cost computer options by offering customers the ability to purchase an Internet-ready desktop or laptop for less than $150, in addition to the netbooks that Comcast already offers.  This partnership with Arrow (formerly Redemtech) was announced in the fall of 2012 and will be piloted in Philadelphia and Chicago before rolling out to other markets.
  • Honoring the top 15 performing school districts with the Internet Essentials Gold Medal School District of Excellence Award to recognize the success of school districts nationwide and acknowledge their important role in helping to close the digital divide.  In conjunction with the celebration of Comcast’s 50th anniversary later this year, each recognized district will be given 50 laptops for families or schools.  Winners will be announced in the fall of 2013.

What is Internet Essentials from Comcast

The Program provides low-cost broadband 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.

Who is Eligible

Eligible families must have at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program, including public, parochial, private, and homeschool students.

Comcast will sign up eligible families in the program through the end of the 2013-2014 school year.  These households will remain eligible as long as one child eligible for a free or reduced lunch remains living in the household.

For general information about Internet Essentials, 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/partner.

Parents looking to enroll in the program can call 1-855-846-8376 or, for Spanish, 1-855-765-6995.

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