Houma, LA (September 4, 2014) — Houma’s low-income families who lack Internet access at home will receive some welcome news as Comcast is announcing a plan to provide up to six months of complimentary service for any new family that has not yet applied for Internet Essentials. Eligible families who are approved for Internet Essentials before September 20th, 2014 will receive up to six months of Internet service.
On September 4th, at 1:00 p.m. a press conference will be held featuring the city’s political and educational leaders at Southdown Elementary School in Houma. Along with representatives from Comcast, the group will announce the promotion, the donation of 5 free desktop computers, and will draw attention to a digital divide that has left many Houma families without access at a time when the Internet has become vital to learning.
Comcast is also announcing an amnesty program for low-income families who could qualify for Internet Essentials, but have a past due balance. Customers who have an outstanding bill that is more than one year old are now eligible for the program. Comcast will offer amnesty for that debt for the purpose of connecting to Internet Essentials, so long as the customer meets all the other eligibility criteria.
Launched in 2011, Internet Essentials is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program, providing low-cost broadband service for $9.95 a month plus tax, the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for under $150, and free digital literacy training. Since its start, Internet Essentials has connected 350,000 families, or about 1.4 million low-income Americans, to the power of the Internet. It is available in 39 states and the District of Columbia.
“Internet Essentials is about transforming lives and inspiring a new generation of leaders to be digitally ready to access the information and tools all students need to succeed in the 21st century,” said Ronnie Colvin, Senior Director Comcast External Affairs. “By offering up to six months of free Internet Essentials service, along with an amnesty program, we hope to convince even more families that there is no better school supply than having broadband Internet at home.”
“I know first-hand how critical it is that we prepare our children inside and outside the classroom to succeed in learning and in life,” said Councilwoman Arlanda Williams. “As a leader in the community, I realize the importance of making access to the internet easier for our children, if we are training them to be future leaders. I am pleased to play a role in this partnership that will not only include Terrebonne Parish students but those enrolled in our Head start program as well. Together with Comcast we are preparing one child at a time!”
“It is clear that we have a great deal of work ahead of us if we are to bridge the digital divide in Houma,” said Superintendent Philip Martin. “In Houma alone, we simply have too many families without Internet access, which encumbers students’ ability to keep up with their daily school work. On behalf of Terrebonne Parish Public Schools, we are thrilled to join Comcast in its goal of connecting families to the Internet this year.”
Throughout the back to school season, Comcast will actively engage with parents, teachers, non-profit partners and elected officials to help spread the word to low-income families about the program. The Company plans to promote the new, up to six months free offer, and to focus on schools where 100 percent of students receive a free lunch through the National School Lunch Program and can therefore automatically apply. Comcast will also continue to offer families the option to purchase a computer at less than $150, as well as provide access to free digital literacy training online, in print and in person.