Comcast Expands “Internet Essentials” to Public Housing
Comcast is expanding its “Internet Essentials” program to public housing residents in Miami, Nashville, Seattle, and Philadelphia, the company announced today.
For $10 a month, the program provides residents with with Internet service — download speeds up to 10 Mbps — a free Wi-Fi router, access to free digital literacy training, and the option to purchase a computer for less than $150.
David L. Cohen, Comcast’s senior executive vice president, made the announcement in Miami today along side, Julian Castro, secretary of Housing and Urban Development. In a blog post, Cohen said that less than 18 percent of households with incomes under $14,000 — the average income in public housing — had a fixed Internet connection at home.
“Today’s announcement will help build a bridge for public housing residents to cross this digital divide,” Cohen said. “It will also help them climb the economic ladder to greater opportunity in education, employment, and more.”
Internet Essentials launched as a requirement of Comcast’s merger with NBCUniversal, originally aimed at families whose children qualified for free school lunches. Since then, it’s been expanded to include families eligible for reduced-price school lunches, as well as low-income seniors and low-income community college students. The program has occasionally come under criticism that it enrolls too few families and that barriers to entry are still too high.
Cohen, however, has been a vigorous defender of the program. Today, he noted Internet Essentials has served more than 2.4 million people in 600,000 households — and that enrollments in the program in 2015 by 30 percent over 2014.
To apply, visit www.InternetEssentials.com or call 1-855-847-3356.