This post is sponsored by Comcast.
Imagine this story: You and your neighbor are talking about how his children struggle getting their schoolwork done because they don’t have access to the Internet at home. He tells you he can’t follow up on better jobs he has applied for because the library is closed when he gets off work. He’s worried about the costs to help connect his family and that his children aren’t connected. You tell him about Internet Essentials and how it can help close the digital divide his family is facing. You help him sign up. A year later his daughter receives a college scholarship she read about online. His son is in honors classes in high school, and your neighbor has a better job to support his family. You’ve given him a tool to change his trajectory.
Internet Essentials Expands
I’ve written a few times about Internet Essentials, and how it’s been life-changing for Americans. I’m excited to share this latest expansion, and how it has greatly benefited our neighbors in Spokane, Washington. Since its start in 2011, Internet Essentials has connected over 8 million low income American’s to the Internet.
90% of our neighbors who signed up for Internet Essentials had never had Internet before. By increasing eligibility in the program, all low income neighbors in the Comcast footprint are now eligible for the program.
“This expansion is the culmination of an audacious goal we set eight years ago, which was to meaningfully and significantly close the digital divide for low-income Americans,” said David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast NBCUniversal. “The Internet is arguably the most important technological innovation in history, and it is unacceptable that we live in a country where millions of families and individuals are missing out on this life-changing resource. Whether the Internet is used for students to do their homework, adults to look for and apply for new jobs, seniors to keep in touch with friends and family, or veterans to access their well-deserved benefits or medical assistance, it is absolutely essential to be connected in our modern, digital age.”
A new interactive digital classroom
This past Friday, I participated in a conference call to learn more about what Comcast was doing in our communities, and particularly in Spokane. Last week, Comcast hosted an event at Goodwill, with U.S. Paralympic Gold Medalist and Purple Heart Recipient Rico Roman, to unveil a new state-of-the-art interactive digital classroom!
The amount of thought put into this special computer lab is evident. It will facilitate digital literacy training for low-income people with disabilities, helping them overcome the major barrier to broadband adoption – a lack of digital skills. It’s been furnished with assistive technology to help different disabled individuals’ needs, like adjustable tables on hydraulics and interactive learning and digital tools.
The vast majority of Goodwill’s program participants have some level of disability, are low-income, and many served in the military. In addition to the new digital classroom, Comcast also presented a grant to the organization and surprised Goodwill program participants with 50 laptops and six months of complimentary Internet Essentials service.
Family Promise Program
In addition to the exciting new Digital Classroom, Comcast also surprised Spokane Mayor David Condon with a special gift for the Family Program. Comcast donated 50 computers and 50 cards for 6 months of Internet Essentials service to the program. This gift will benefit more of our Spokane neighbors!
The next step to the future of Internet Essentials
While Spokane is currently the only city to have this wonderful interactive digital classroom, it’s another stepping stone to helping the members of our community.
If you qualify for Internet Essentials, I encourage you to sign up. If you know someone who could benefit from Internet Essentials, be sure to tell them about it, and help change their path.
For more information, or to apply for the program in seven different languages, please visit www.internetessentials.com or call 1-855-846-8376. Spanish-only speakers can also call 1-855-765-6995.