With the new school year now in full swing, Comcast is re-launching Internet Essentials, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption initiative for low-income families.
City officials and civic and community leader announced Monday that in the program’s first 22 months, nearly 220,000 families, benefitting nearly 900,000 low-income Americans nationwide, now have a broadband connection at home. This includes nearly 14,000 families in metro Atlanta, double the number enrolled a year ago, and making Atlanta one of the top three cities across the country making real progress to close the digital divide.
“Internet access is critical to everything from education to workforce development,” said Mayor Reed in a statement. “In partnership with Comcast, we are working to increase digital literacy throughout metro Atlanta and ensure every student and their family has the opportunity to gain access to the vast resources provided by the Internet.”
In metro Atlanta this week, Comcast presented more than $260,000 in grants and hosted a series of local events to create further awareness of Internet Essentials, as well as educate and engage civic and community leaders around the issue of digital adoption and literacy.
Kicking off with a digital literacy focus group at the Latin American Association and benefit for Sequoyah Middle School, community leaders and Comcast executives partnered with the Urban League of Greater Atlanta, Ron Clark Academy and Centers of Hope for local events and grant presentations throughout the day. Comcast is working with these community based organizations to spread the word about Internet Essentials and provide digital literacy training.
To underscore his and his wife’s personal commitment to helping make a dent in the digital divide, Tony Dungy, Super Bowl-winning former head coach of the Indianapolis Colts and national spokesman for Internet Essentials, also announced the Dungy Family Foundation will donate financial support to pay for a full year of Internet Essentials service for 30 eligible families served by the Centers of Hope in Atlanta.
“Internet Essentials can have a game-changing impact on education and the lives of young people,” said Dungy. “It really levels the playing field for those that might not have the opportunities they deserve just because they never had access to the tools and resources that drive success in today’s technologically advanced world.”
“Compared to a year ago, we have more than doubled the number of families here in metro Atlanta who are now able to complete school assignments, access government resources, apply for jobs and scholarships and pay bills at home,” said Cohen. “With the unwavering support of schools, community organizations, legislators and other partners in Atlanta and nationwide, our Internet Essentials program has been making demonstrable progress in closing the digital divide.”
The momentum of Internet Essentials continues to increase. Since the program’s launch in August 2011, Internet Essentials has enrolled more than 50,000 new families every six months. In the first six months of 2013, 70,000 new families have signed up.
In addition, Comcast has distributed more than 18,000 subsidized computers; trained nearly 20,000 people; publicized the program in more than 4,000 school districts and more than 30,000 schools; broadcast nearly 2 million public service announcements and partnered with nearly 7,000 community based organizations, agencies, and officials to help spread the word about the program.
To learn more about Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, visit www.internetessentials.com.
Photo By Alex Bunda
Executive Vice President for Comcast David L. Cohen (from left), stands with children from MLK Center of Hope, Candace Byrd, chief of staff for Mayor Kasim Reed, Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell, Super Bowl Winning NFL Coach Tony Dungy, and Mo Ivory, Director of Political-Community Outreach for CBS Radio Atlanta and host of “The Mo Ivory Show” on News/Talk 1380 WAOK at the MLK Recreation Center to kick off Comcast’s third year of its Internet Essentials program on Oct. 14.