ATLANTA, GA. (Sept. 12, 2014) – Comcast joined Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal, State Senator Christian Coomer, Bartow County Schools Superintendent Dr. John Harper and other local leaders for a celebration of digital literacy at Hamilton Crossing Elementary School on Sept. 12.
The event – which drew attention to the importance of digital literacy while highlighting the digital divide in Georgia – allowed students to participate in an interactive hour of classroom reading with elected officials and local community leaders, as educators enjoyed an appreciation breakfast in their honor.
During the press conference, Comcast presented a donation of $2,500 to the school for the purchase of books, as well as a $4,400 Comcast Cares Day grant to aid in supporting literacy in the Bartow County community.
Additionally, to recognize the Internet Essentials program – the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption initiative for low-income families – Comcast announced that TDF Ventures will provide 25 students in the 11th Congressional District a laptop and one year of complimentary Internet Essentials service.
“We have a great deal of work ahead of us to bridge the digital divide in Georgia and to promote the importance of literacy among our youth,” said Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal. “Through the governor’s Innovation in Teaching competition and the recommendations of the Digital Learning task force, more Georgia teachers have the technology infrastructure, internet access and online resources they need to teach necessary 21st century skills. Academic excellence is built outside the classroom as well, and Internet Essentials is the right step toward building these skills that will help students succeed in both learning and in life.”
Since its launch in 2011, Internet Essentials has connected more than 350,000 families, or approximately 1.4 million low-income Americans, to the Internet. The program provides eligible families with low-cost broadband service for $9.95 a month plus tax, with the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for less than $150, and free digital literacy training.
Nearly 100,000 Georgians – or 25,000 families in the state – have benefitted from the Internet Essentials program, an important achievement as broadband access becomes an increasingly vital educational resource for students of all ages. Atlanta boasts the second highest number of Internet Essentials sign-ups across all Comcast markets.
“Internet Essentials has made a positive and tangible difference for thousands of low-income families across Georgia,” said Comcast VP of Government Affairs Andy Macke. “Making Internet service available throughout our communities is critical in bridging the digital divide and providing our students with the right tools to get ahead in the classroom.”
In August 2014, Comcast announced an amnesty program for certain low-income families who qualify for Internet Essentials, but have a past due balance. Customers who have an outstanding bill that is more than one year old are 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 other eligibility criteria. In addition, eligible customers who apply before September 20, 2014 can receive up to six months of free Internet service as part of the promotion.
To qualify, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Live within a Comcast Internet service area
- Have at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program
- Have not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days