SCHAUMBURG, IL – Comcast today announced results of the first year of its Internet Essentials program in northwest Illinois. Internet Essentials is a broadband adoption program for low-income families the company launched in fall 2011. Since then, more than 100,000 households have enrolled nationally, with more than 13,000 in Illinois alone and more than 800 in the Rockford region.
“Comcast is proud to help our local northwest Illinois students region students and families get online at home and access the endless resources the Internet has to offer,” said Matthew Summy, Comcast’s regional vice president of Government and Community Affairs.
Through Internet Essentials, Comcast provides residential Internet service to eligible low-income families for about $10 a month and the ability to purchase a low-cost computer for about $150, as well as access to free digital literacy training in print, online and in-person.
To qualify, families have to live in locations in which Comcast offers Internet service; have at least one child who’s eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches via the National School Lunch Program (NSLP); may not have subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days; and may not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment.
To reach additional families, earlier in 2012, Comcast expanded eligibility to include families with children receiving reduced-priced lunches via the NSLP, streamlined the application process for many families and began a bulk order program that allows community-based organizations to purchase Internet Essentials accounts so they can connect the eligible families they serve. Comcast also doubled the speed of the Internet connection to 3 Mbps downstream and up to 768 Kbps upstream.
Throughout the region, Comcast has been working with a growing network of community-based organizations, school districts, faith-based organizations, elected officials and others to help them provide services and spread the word about Internet Essentials. In northwest Illinois, Comcast has sponsored or participated in several events to spread the word about Internet Essentials to those who could benefit from it.
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.