Comcast Expands Internet Access for Thousands of Low-Income Families
About 35,000 households across Philadelphia are now eligible to apply for Internet Essentials, Comcast’s high-speed internet program for low-income families.
Comcast and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also announced today that nationwide, an estimated total of 2 million households will now have access to the internet program.
The expansion follows several other attempts by Comcast to increase access to low-income families through pilot programs in the last year, and is also possible through HUD’s ConnectHome, an initiative of the Obama Administration to expand high-speed affordable broadband access, technical training, digital literacy programs, and electronic devices to all Americans.
“This announcement reaffirms Comcast’s determination to make a meaningful impact to close the digital divide for low-income families in this country,” said David L. Cohen, senior executive vice president and chief diversity officer of Comcast. Adding, “This is the single largest expansion of the Internet Essentials program in its history, and we’re thrilled to be working with HUD to help connect even more families, including seniors, veterans, and adults without children, to the transformative power of having internet service at home.”
Before Friday’s expansion, only households with children eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program were officially able to apply for Internet Essentials. But now, the newly eligible groups include households in Comcast’s service area that receive HUD housing assistance or live in public housing that is state or locally funded.
Like those who are HUD-assisted, public housing residents must meet the program’s other eligible criteria and provide proof that they live in a housing authority property. The other Internet Essentials eligibility criteria are that the customer cannot have outstanding debt to Comcast that is less than a year old and the customer must not have subscribed to Comcast internet service within the last 90 days.
Internet Essentials provides internet service to families for $9.95 a month plus tax. Families also have the option to purchase an internet-ready computer for under $150.
Pennsylvania ranks fourth in the top 10 states with the largest number of HUD assisted households, with about 164,000 according to a statement from Comcast and HUD. And Philadelphia is ranked second in terms of cities with the most households receiving assistance, with more than 43,000.
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