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Comcast and Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin Kick Off Year Two of The Groundbreaking Internet Essentials Program Designed to Help Close The Digital Divide
Aug 18, 2012 (03:08 PM EDT)
Nationally, Nearly 100,000 Families or 400,000 Low-Income Americans Have Signed Up
Initiative Provides Internet Service, Affordable Computers and Digital Literacy Training to Families
FRESNO, Calif., Aug. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin and Comcast Senior Vice President of Strategic Operations, Filemon Lopez, today announced year two of Internet Essentials, an ambitious and comprehensive broadband adoption program designed to help close the digital divide for low-income Americans. In its first full year of availability, nearly 100,000 families or 400,000 Americans are now online and Comcast continues to enhance the program with new features and processes designed to accelerate enrollment in the program. The Greater Fresno area currently has more than 2,650 families connected to the Internet Essentials program.
The briefing at Mario Olmos Elementary School in Southeast Fresno also included Fresno City Councilman Sal Quintero and Fresno Unified School District Board of Education President Valerie Davis. The elected officials joined Fresno Fuego soccer players at a Comcast Family Digital Fair to showcase best-in-class broadband inclusion programs and to celebrate the success of the Internet Essentials initiative.
"I'm proud to stand here today and say that the City of Fresno is helping the nation close the digital divide for our citizens," said Mayor Swearengin. "But we still have more work to do. There are still too many low-income families in Fresno who can benefit from getting online at home. So, I'm urging parents, educators, community leaders and other government officials to press on with this effort, spread the word and help increase broadband adoption in our community."
Filemon Lopez, Senior Vice President of Strategic Operations, added, "I'd like to congratulate Mayor Swearengin, and her school administration in Fresno for having made the Internet Essentials program such a resounding success. Cities like Fresno are making a tangible difference in the lives of its students and families who are now able to go online at home and access the endless resources the Internet has to offer."
Last year, Comcast California had also announced a contribution of $15,000 to its Fresno non-profit partner Reading & Beyond (www.readingandbeyond.org) to assist families in purchasing a computer through the Internet Essentials program. Since some families might not have the means to pay the full computer amount up front, Reading & Beyond has used Comcast's contribution to create a 'micro-lending' program for families to be able to purchase the $149.99 + taxes computer available through the Internet Essentials initiative and repay Reading & Beyond through an installment payment plan.
New in 2012:
Internet Essentials Program Details:
A household is eligible to participate if it meets all of the following criteria:
Comcast will sign up eligible families in the program, through the end of the 2013-2014 school year. Any household that qualifies will remain eligible for Internet Essentials if at least one child eligible for either a free or reduced lunch remains living in the household.
In Fresno, Comcast is working with a growing network of community-based organizations to spread the word about Internet Essentials and provide digital literacy training. Those organizations include the Fresno Boys & Girls Club, Encourage Tomorrow, PIQE (Parent Involvement for Quality Education), Reading & Beyond and the Youth Leadership Institute.
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.
Downloadable broadcast-quality B-roll video footage of today's event and announcement is available at: http://comcastcalifornia.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=98.
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