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By Kenya King

Hundreds of students cheered at a pep rally for digital literacy at Carver High School recently. Led by Congressman John Lewis, the young people celebrated Comcast’s local Internet Essentials program which has been expanded by $160,000.

Noting that Carver Auditorium was once the chapel of the Gammon Theological Seminary, Lewis said that “some of the great debates and great discussions about the Civil Rights movement took place here.”

The more contemporary discussions revolved around the so-called “digital divide” movement between those who have access to the resources on the Internet and those who do not.

Comcast launched Internet Essentials in August of 2011 in order to bring the Internet to the homes of thousands of low-income families. To date, 100,000 families across the country who didn’t have a means for using the Internet now have access as a result of the initiative. In Atlanta, 6,000 families benefited, making it the second highest enrollment in the United States. The city of Chicago had the highest enrollment.

Comcast Executive Vice President David L. Cohen announced a pledge of $160,000 in grants to Atlanta area programs. including $25,000 for the Digital Connectors program at Samuel L. Jones Boys & Girls Club and a $60,000 Club Tech Grant to Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta.

Based on Comcast’s research, its Internet Essentials tackles distinct barriers to broadband adoption including a lack of understanding of how the Internet is relevant and useful, the cost of a home computer and the cost of the Internet service. Those who participate in the program receive residential Internet service for $9.95 a month plus taxes without price increases, activation fees, or equipment rental fees; a voucher to purchase a low-cost computer for approximately $150; and access to free digital literacy training.

To be eligible for the program, a family must be located where Comcast offers Internet service, has at least one child who is eligible to receive a free or reduced school lunch, and as not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within 90 days.”

“Due to our integrated efforts, thousands of students and families in metro Atlanta are now able to utilize all of the resources the Internet has to offer in their own homes, from researching historical or scientific facts for a school presentation, to applying for jobs that will expand the region’s workforce and provide increased opportunities for parents and their children,” said Cohen.

“No one should be denied the right to access to information because of their income, because of their zip code or because of their neighborhood,” Congressman Lewis added.

To learn more information about Internet Essentials, visit http://www.internetessentials.com.

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