Expands Pilot Program for Seniors and Gives Away Laptops to Seniors and Students
State of Georgia Ranks 6th in the Nation with Nearly 250,000 Low-Income Residents Having Benefitted from the Internet Essentials Program, Including Nearly 200,000 From Metro Atlanta
ATLANTA, Oct. 4, 2017 — Comcast is hosting a series of events across the Atlanta Metro area today designed to raise awareness about digital inclusion and highlight the urgent need to close the digital divide among seniors, families, and students through its Internet Essentials program. Internet Essentials, now in its seventh academic year, is the Company’s signature community investment program and the nation’s largest and most successful broadband adoption initiative for low-income families. Since 2011, more than four million low-income Americans, living in more than one million households, have benefitted from the effort. The number includes 250,000 residents across the state of Georgia, which makes it the sixth most successful state in terms of participation in the program with the vast majority, nearly 200,000, from the Metro Atlanta area alone.
At the Cosby Spear Memorial Towers, Comcast partnered with The Atlanta Housing Authority to announce that Atlanta has been selected as one of the newest cities to participate in a pilot program to help low-income seniors cross the digital divide. To help accelerate the effort, Comcast also gave away 50 laptops to seniors who live at the facility and said it also will install a WiFi hotspot there.
“We are thrilled to announce the launch of our Internet Essentials Senior Pilot program in Atlanta, and look forward to bringing digital literacy training to this rapidly growing audience,” said David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast Corporation. “When we started this program in 2011, we never imagined four million low-income Americans would benefit from it. We also never would have reached this milestone without our many dedicated nonprofit partners, elected officials, educators, employees, libraries, and advocates who were all united by the belief that the Internet is essential, not only to compete in the 21st century economy, but also to be connected to loved ones and the world.”
“Partnering with Comcast to provide seniors with digital literacy is important to us at AHA,” said Mark Campbell, Chief Information Officer of the Atlanta Housing Authority. “Our goal through this program is to provide low cost internet access options and classroom experiences focusing on safely navigating the internet.”
In addition, the Company announced it is making four investments in nonprofit partners in Atlanta. The first investment is in Older Adult Technology Services (OATS), to support the delivery of in-person digital literacy training sessions for low-income seniors. Comcast is also paying OATS a software licensing fee so that tens of thousands of seniors, who live in Fulton, Cobb, Clayton, DeKalb, and Gwinnett counties, can participate in their training programs online and from the comfort of their own homes.
The second investment will support digital literacy training for seniors by the Latin American Association. Founded in 1972, the Latin American Association is the longest serving and largest provider of social and immigration legal services in Atlanta’s Latino community.
The third investment is in the Center for Pan Asian Community Services, whose mission is to promote self-sufficiency and equity for immigrants, refugees, and the underprivileged through comprehensive health and social services, capacity building, and advocacy. The Center serves more than 3,000 clients a month and has previously worked with Comcast to matriculate four Digital Connectors classes, which are year-long courses designed to teach young students computer skills.
The fourth investment is in the Urban League of Greater Atlanta, which delivers a variety of programs and services that empower youth, adults, and families to move up the economic ladder. Last year, the Urban League served more than 3,000 individuals. Since 2012, the organization has been a key digital literacy training partner for the Internet Essentials program and more than 1,700 people have attended classes there.
Comcast also announced it is donating 100 laptops to students at Morrow Middle School and Unidos Dual Language Charter School, located in the Clayton County School District. Unidos was Georgia’s first public dual immersion school when it first opened in 2006.
“Comcast understands first-hand the inherent challenges that students in underserved communities face being on the wrong side of the digital divide,” said Superintendent Morcease Beasley. “By graciously providing laptops and six months of Internet Essentials service to our fifth graders, Comcast has helped set these students up for success.”
Internet Essentials’ integrated approach is part of the program’s core design to address each of the three major barriers to broadband adoption – digital literacy, access to computer equipment, and low-cost Internet service. The program is also structured as a partnership between Comcast and thousands of school districts, libraries, elected officials, and nonprofit community partners, to address this complex set of broadband adoption issues.
Finally, the Company announced that two other Internet Essentials program enhancements were being offered to all qualified households in Georgia for no additional cost:
- First, for the fourth time in six years, Comcast has increased the program’s Internet service speeds, this time from 10/1 Mbps to up to 15/2 Mbps. More speed was the number one requested enhancement from Internet Essentials customers, and this latest increase will improve streaming quality in the home (15 Mbps is three times the speed necessary to view a high definition video), especially when multiple devices are connected to the Internet at the same time.
- Second, to help family members connect to the Internet on the go and save money on their wireless bills, Internet Essentials customers will now enjoy 40 hours of free out of home WiFi access per month to the company’s growing network of 18 million Xfinity WiFi hotspots. This WiFi access is being offered in addition to the free in-home WiFi Internet Essentials customers currently enjoy.
About Internet Essentials
Internet Essentials from Comcast is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive high-speed Internet adoption program for low-income Americans. It provides low-cost high-speed Internet service for $9.95 a month plus tax; the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for under $150; and multiple options to access free digital literacy training in print, online and in person. For more information, or to apply for the program, visit www.InternetEssentials.com or call 1-855-846-8376. Spanish-only speakers should call 1-855-765-6995.
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company with two primary businesses, Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is one of the nation’s largest video, high-speed Internet, and phone providers to residential customers under the XFINITY brand, and also provides these services to businesses. It also provides wireless and security and automation services to residential customers under the XFINITY brand. NBCUniversal operates news, entertainment and sports cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations, television station groups, Universal Pictures and Universal Parks and Resorts. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.
About Atlanta Housing Authority
The Housing Authority of the City of Atlanta, Georgia (AHA) is the largest housing authority in Georgia and one of the largest in the nation. AHA provides and facilitates affordable housing resources for nearly 22,000 low-income households comprised of approximately 50,000 people. These affordable housing resources include AHA-owned residential communities, AHA-sponsored mixed-income, mixed-finance residential communities, tenant-based vouchers, HomeFlex (project based rental assistance), supportive housing arrangements and homeownership opportunities. AHA’s programs are funded and regulated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”).
Visit Atlanta Housing Authority at http://www.atlantahousing.org or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @housingatlanta.