The Comcast Internet Essentials program achieved a number of milestones in 2019, the company reported today. Internet Essentials is Comcast’s program to aid low-income Americans with connectivity and related services.

Comcast said it has now connected 8 million low-income people to home Internet services, 90% of which didn’t have connections previously. In addition, the company said it has invested more than $650 million in digital skills training, benefiting nearly 9.5 million people, while also providing 100,000 discounted and subsidized laptop or desktop computers since the program started. In August the company lowered the threshold for people to qualify for the program.

In 2019, Comcast provided discounted and subsidized laptops for more than 4,000 adults, students, and seniors; created or upgraded 5 computer labs and visited 15 cities for events. At the events, the company engaged with more than 200 nonprofit partner organizations and 180 elected and government officials to reach more than 6,500 attendees.

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The company’s employees provided essential help for the program, the company said. More than 450 signed up for the Internet Essentials volunteer Ambassador program. The company recognized more than 50 employees for contributions to the program.

“As I reflect on the end of the year, I’m proud of all we accomplished together – our employees working hand in hand with our non-profit and governmental partners,” said David L. Cohen in a company blog. “I think we can all agree that the Internet is the most important technological innovation of the modern age. It has fundamentally changed the way we learn, work, live, shop, play, and communicate.”

Cohen added: “The cruel irony of the digital divide, however, is that the more broadband technology advances, the further behind it leaves people without a connection at home – who happen to be the very people who would most benefit from the equalizing potential of the Internet.”

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