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Comcast and Focus: HOPE Unveil the Most Ambitious and Comprehensive Broadband Adoption Experiment for Michigan
Sep 16, 2011 (02:09 PM EDT)


Internet Essentials(SM) provides low-cost Internet service, affordable computers and digital literacy training to families with children in the National School Lunch Program

Comcast announces launch plans for the Comcast Digital Connectors Program at Focus: HOPE Fall 2011 with $25,000 grant from Comcast Foundation

DETROIT, Sept. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Comcast today announced the Michigan launch of Internet Essentials(SM), an ambitious and comprehensive broadband adoption experiment, during an event co-hosted by William F. Jones, Jr., Chief Executive Officer of Focus: HOPE, Bret Perkins, Comcast Corporation's Vice President of External and Government Affairs, and Tim Collins, Regional Senior Vice President for Comcast's Heartland Region. Joining to mark the launch were U.S. Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (14th Congressional District), U.S. Congressman Gary Peters (9th Congressional District), Detroit State Representative Maureen Stapleton (4th District), Detroit City Council Member James Tate, and other dignitaries from the community.

The Internet Essentials program addresses three of the primary barriers to broadband adoption that research has identified: 1) a lack of understanding of how the Internet is relevant and useful; 2) the cost of a home computer; and 3) the cost of the Internet service. Available to low-income families in Detroit and across Michigan with children who receive free lunch under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the goal of Internet Essentials is to help close the digital divide and ensure more Americans benefit from all the Internet has to offer.

"Access to high speed Internet is critical for our children to receive the best education possible," said U.S. Congressman Gary Peters. "I'm glad that Comcast is partnering with our community to help bring the Internet into the homes of more children so that everybody has the opportunity to develop the skills to succeed and have a good paying job in the future." 

"While America has increasingly become a digital nation, many low-income Detroit families are being left at a disadvantage, because they don't have Internet service at home. Comcast is leading the charge in making broadband adoption a reality for more families," said Michigan State Representative Maureen Stapleton. "As representative for the 4th District in Michigan, we are proud to pledge support, but we can't do this alone. We need parents, educators, community leaders and other government officials to join in this effort, spread the word and help increase broadband adoption in our community."

According to David L. Cohen, Comcast Corporation's Executive Vice President, "The Internet is a great equalizer and a life-changing technology. Internet Essentials helps level the playing field for low-income families by connecting students online with their teachers and their school's educational resources as well as enabling parents to receive digital literacy training so they can do things like apply for jobs online or use the Internet to learn more about healthcare and government services available where they live."

Service Details:

Internet Essentials participants will receive:

  • Residential Internet service for $9.95 a month plus tax;
  • No price increases, no activation fees, or equipment rental fees;
  • A voucher to purchase a low-cost computer for $149.99 plus tax;
  • Access to free digital literacy training in print, online or in person.

Additional benefits include a complementary Norton™ Security Suite ($160 value) for comprehensive online security protection.

Eligibility:

A household is eligible to participate in the Internet Essentials program if it meets all of the following criteria:

  • Is located where Comcast offers Internet service;
  • Has at least one child who receives a free school lunch under the NSLP;
    • (As an example, according to the Department of Agriculture, a household of three would have to make less than $25,000 a year in income);
  • Has not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days;
  • Does not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment.

Comcast will sign up eligible families in the program for at least three years and through the end of the 2013-2014 school year. Any household that qualifies during this three-year period will remain eligible for Internet Essentials provided the household still qualifies for the program until that child graduates from high school.

For general information about Internet Essentials, please visit www.internetessentials.com for English and visit www.internetbasico.com for Spanish. Educators or third-parties interested in helping to spread the word can find more information at www.internetessentials.com/partner. Parents looking to enroll in the program can call 1-855-846-8376 or, for Spanish, 1-855-765-6995.

Comcast Digital Connectors Comes to Focus: HOPE

Comcast and Focus: HOPE also announced plans to launch a major technology learning and service initiative that teaches young people about broadband technologies and how to put that knowledge to work to serve Detroit.  The program, Comcast Digital Connectors, will be conducted during the 2011-2012 school year at Focus: HOPE and will continue next fall throughout the academic year.  This year's program is made possible through a $25,000 grant that the Comcast Foundation has awarded to Focus: HOPE.

In the Comcast Digital Connectors program, high school students from diverse and low-income backgrounds are selected to gather at Focus: HOPE two evenings a week throughout the school year to learn digital literacy skills.  The young people will then volunteer their time at community-based organizations, senior centers, religious-based organizations and even in their own homes to help improve digital literacy.

"Focus: HOPE is an ideal partner to launch the Comcast Digital Connectors program this fall, because of its demonstrated commitment to digital literacy and education in the Detroit community it serves," said Tim Collins, Senior Vice President of Comcast's Heartland Region.  "Digital Connectors participants are given a unique opportunity to improve their lives and the lives of others by cultivating leadership skills and computer training expertise, while impacting their neighborhood through community service and preparing for bright futures in the workforce."

The curriculum for Comcast Digital Connectors covers several broad areas to help the program participants learn real-world applications for broadband technology.  Modules include: leadership principles; digital technology skills development; community service; financial literacy; and civic journalism.  The students will learn how to network computer labs, connect wireless access points and create video documentaries.  Additionally, they will be given instruction in entrepreneurship, healthy living, career and character development.  The program also includes creative media projects intended to inspire the Digital Connectors to put broadband and Internet technology to their greatest use.

"Focus: HOPE is very grateful to be given the opportunity to offer the Digital Connectors Program to students from multiple high schools in our community," said William F. Jones, Jr., Chief Executive Officer for Focus: HOPE.  "Due to the generosity of Comcast and its partner, One Economy, Detroit-area youth will be given the chance to develop leadership, citizenship and healthy lifestyle skills through the effective use of technology.  The Digital Connectors Program will provide us the essential tools and resources to better teach our children how the positive uses of technology can improve the quality of their lives and the community in which they live."

In Michigan, Comcast supports Comcast Digital Connectors at the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) in Dearborn and Latin Americans United for Progress (LAUP) in Holland. Comcast funds several other digital literacy and youth development projects through community partnerships, including: Big Brothers Big Sisters; Boys and Girls Clubs of Michigan; City Year Detroit; One Economy; United Way; Urban Leagues; and many other organizations. The company also provides courtesy Internet services to libraries and community centers in the communities it serves in Michigan.

About Comcast Corporation:

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) (www.comcast.com) is one of the nation's leading providers of entertainment, information and communications products and services. Comcast is principally involved in the operation of cable systems through Comcast Cable and in the development, production and distribution of entertainment, news, sports and other content for global audiences through NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is one of the nation's largest video, high-speed Internet and phone providers to residential and business customers. Comcast is the majority owner and manager of NBCUniversal, which owns and operates entertainment and news cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, local television station groups, television production operations, a major motion picture company and theme parks.

SOURCE Comcast Cable