Comcast Updates Silicon Valley On Internet Essentials Broadband Adoption Program At Youth Tech Summit Celebrating Education
Comcast hosted an education-technology focused Youth Tech Summit today in Silicon Valley to kick off year four of Internet Essentials, Comcast's innovative broadband adoption initiative, and to announce that Comcast has signed up 46,250 low-income families in Northern California, or about 186,000 low-income Californians, for the program. At the event, held at San Jose's Tech Museum of Innovation, Comcast also announced an amnesty program for certain low-income families who could qualify for Internet Essentials, but have a past due balance.
Comcast customers who have an outstanding bill that is more than one year old are now eligible for the Internet Essentials program. Comcast will offer amnesty for that debt for the purpose of connecting to Internet Essentials, so long as the customer meets all the other eligibility criteria. In addition, Comcast will include up to six months of complimentary Internet service for any new family approved for Internet Essentials before September 20th, 2014. Since 2011, Internet Essentials has connected more than 350,000 families nationally, or about 1.4 million low-income Americans, to the power of the Internet. The program is available in 39 states and the District of Columbia.
Another highlight of the Youth Tech Summit featured Comcast teaming up with the Silicon Valley Education Foundation (SVEF) to host the "iHub Pitch Games," which give education technology startups from across the nation the opportunity to test their science and math-friendly software in Silicon Valley schools. Modeled after the popular TV show "Shark Tank," startup entrepreneurs pitched their e-learning products to a prestigious panel of Silicon Valley educators and business leaders, including San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York.
Internet Essentials offers eligible families low-cost broadband service for $9.95 a month. Families also can purchase an Internet-ready computer for less than $150 and access digital literacy training sessions and materials online, in print, and in person. Since the program's start, Comcast has distributed nearly 30,000 computers nationwide for less than $150 each.
"Internet Essentials is about transforming lives and inspiring a new generation of leaders to be digitally ready to access the information and tools all students need to succeed in the 21st century," said David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President, Comcast Corporation. "By offering up to six months of complimentary Internet Essentials service, along with this amnesty program, we hope to convince even more families that there is no better school supply than having broadband Internet at home. With it, kids can do their homework and parents can be more connected to their children's teachers and schools."
Throughout the back to school season, Comcast has been actively engaging with parents, teachers, non-profit partners and elected officials to help spread the word to low-income families about the program. The Company has been airing an unprecedented number of public service announcements (PSAs) that promote the six months complimentary offer, and focusing on schools where 100 percent of students receive a free lunch through the National School Lunch Program and can therefore automatically apply. Comcast will also continue to offer families the option to purchase a computer at less than $150, as well as provide access to free digital literacy training online, in print and in person.
Since 2011, Comcast and the Comcast Foundation have dedicated more than $200 million in cash and in-kind support to fund digital readiness initiatives nationwide, reaching more than 1.75 million people through non-profit, digital literacy partners. In 2013, Comcast announced its largest non-profit collaboration to date with Khan Academy to bring free, world-class online educational content to more low-income families. Khan Academy offers a personalized online learning experience to students, in subjects from basic math to physics, biology, economics, art history, computer science, health and medicine and more. Khan Academy has provided 400 million lessons and learners have completed over 2 billion exercise problems. Comcast has committed to airing hundreds of thousands of PSAs for and providing significant digital promotion, in both English and Spanish, of Khan Academy and its educational resources.
In March, Comcast announced the indefinite continuation of Internet Essentials, well beyond its original three-year commitment. The program's impact continues to grow as the company works to expand its national and local efforts to address the digital divide for eligible students and families. Since its launch in 2011 to the end of June 2014, Comcast has:
- Sold nearly 30,000 subsidized computers at less than $150 each.
- Distributed nearly 37 million Internet Essentials brochures at no cost.
- Broadcast more than 4 million public service announcements, valued at nearly $51 million.
- Welcomed nearly 2.2 million visitors to the Internet Essentials websites in English and Spanish and the Online Learning Center.
- Fielded more than 2.3 million phone calls to our Internet Essentials call center.
- Offered Internet Essentials in more than 30,000 schools and 4,000 school districts, in 39 states and the District of Columbia.
- Partnered with thousands of community-based organizations, government agencies, and federal, state, and local elected officials to spread the word.
- Dedicated $1 million in grants to create Internet Essentials Learning Zones, where networks of non-profit partners are working together to enhance public Internet access and increase family-focused digital literacy training in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Fresno, Miami and Seattle, among others.
Based on customer surveys, we have also learned a lot about what customers think about having Internet Essentials.
- 98% said they would recommend the program to friends and families.
- 97% said they use the service so their kids can do homework.
- 90% said they were satisfied with the program.
- 82% said they use the service every day or almost every day.
Comcast and the Comcast Foundation have also made significant investments in nationwide digital readiness, training, and safety programs with partners like the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and The Arc. These partnerships integrate digital readiness education into program curricula and offer the disabilities community a better and safer opportunity to access and be empowered by digital technologies. Also, the Comcast Digital Connectors program has trained and certified thousands of youth in Internet and computer skills across the U.S.
About Internet Essentials
Internet Essentials from Comcast is the nation's largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program. It provides low-cost broadband service for $9.95 a month plus tax; the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for under $150; and multiple options to access free digital literacy training in print, online, and in-person. A household is eligible to participate if it has at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), is located where Comcast offers Internet service, and has not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days. Families that enroll in the program can continue to enjoy the service as long as one child eligible to participate in the NSLP is living in the household.
For more information about Internet Essentials visit InternetEssentials.com for English and InternetBasico.com for Spanish. Educators or third-parties interested in helping to spread the word can find more information at InternetEssentials.com/partner. Parents looking to enroll in the program can call 1-855-846-8376 or, for Spanish, 1-855-765-6995.