Comcast has helped bridge the digital divide by helping provide low cost Internet access to some 750,000 low-income families – 3 million Americans – via its Comcast Internet Essentials program, according to a five-year progress report.
Six-time Olympic medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee joined Comcast Senior Executive VP and Chief Diversity Officer David L. Cohen as he announced the achievement in Philadelphia yesterday. Joyner-Kersey was recently named Internet Essentials’ national spokesperson.
The event kicked off a six-week, multiple city tour during which Cohen and Joyner-Kersee are scheduled to stop in Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, Denver and Philadelphia, where they will announce more than $2 million in Comcast Internet Essentials grants to community organizations that provide digital literacy training and Internet access, a press release highlights.
“In the last five years, we’ve learned that no single company or government program is ever going to fix the digital divide and that solving a big, difficult societal issue like this takes nothing short of a movement,” Cohen was quoted as saying.
“I’ve dedicated my life to inspiring young people to have the confidence to succeed in both academics and athletics,” Joyner-Kersee said. “At my foundation’s community center in East St. Louis, I’ve seen first-hand the kids who grow up without internet service at home and the impact it has on their futures.
More Than Just Low Cost Internet
The release of the latest Internet Essentials progress report comes on the heels of Comcast announcing that it will expand program eligibility to households receiving HUD housing assistance that includes those living in public housing, Housing Choice Voucher and Multifamily programs.
Comcast’s network services footprint covers as many as 2 million HUD-assisted homes across the nation. According to HUD, they account for up to 40 percent of all households Comcast service covers.
In addition to 3 million low cost Internet connections, Comcast’s Internet Essentials program has invested more than $300 million in cash and in-kind support to help fund digital literacy training and educational initiatives that reach nearly 4.4 million people via national and local nonprofit community organization partners, Comcast highlights.
In addition, the cable MSO/ISP has distributed 54,000 computers at a subsidized price of $150 and partnered with more than 9,000 community partners since the program’s launch. That includes schools and school districts, elected officials and businesses, as well as local community nonprofits.
Other achievements include:
- Dedicated more than $1.8 million in grants to create Internet Essentials Learning Zones, where networks of nonprofit partners are working together to enhance public Internet access and increase family-focused digital literacy training in Atlanta, Baltimore Chicago, Denver, Fresno, and Seattle, among others.
- Broadcast 8.5 million public service announcements, valued at nearly $110 million.
- Distributed nearly 53 million pieces of Internet Essentials program material for free.
- Welcomed more than 6.4 million visitors to the Internet Essentials English and Spanish websites, and its Online Learning Center.
- Fielded more than 4.4 million phone calls to our Internet Essentials call center.
- Offered Internet Essentials to more than 55,000 schools in more than 5,000 school districts in 39 states and the District of Columbia.