PORTLAND, Ore., March 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Comcast Executive Vice President David L. Cohen today announced details about the 2 nd Annual Internet Essentials Progress Report, which features key milestones for the program as well as a number of program enhancements and a new award designed to honor top-performing school districts. Internet Essentials is the nation's largest, most comprehensive broadband adoption initiative designed to help close the digital divide.
"In just 16 months, Internet Essentials has helped put a real dent in the digital divide and connected more than 150,000 low-income families, or 600,000 Americans, to the power of the Internet, most for the first time in their lives," said Cohen. "To put that in perspective, that's approximately the entire population of Washington, D.C. or Boston. Internet Essentials is not just about broadband adoption, however. It's also about what the Internet can do for families, from finding a job to completing homework to accessing vital healthcare resources. While we're pleased with our progress to date, we have more work to do to bring more families into the digital age."
In Oregon and SW Washington, nearly 3,400 families are now online because of Internet Essentials, and more than 6,700 individuals now have access to the Internet.
Additional key program milestones and facts through the end of 2012 include:
- Printed and shipped more than 25 million pieces of collateral material for free.
- Fielded more than one million phone calls in our dedicated Internet Essentials call center.
- Distributed more than 15,000 computers at less than $150 each.
- Trained 10,000 people in-person about digital literacy and how to use the Internet.
- Received more than 800,000 visitors to the Internet Essentials and Internet Basico websites.
- Partnered with almost 7,000 community-based organizations; government agencies and federal, state and local elected officials.
- Expanding eligibility criteria to include parochial, private and homeschool students. This brings the estimated total number of eligible families to nearly 2.6 million.
- Creating a convenient online application request form available through InternetEssentials.com to improve and accelerate the application process. The online form makes it easier and faster than ever before to register. This spring, families will be able to use computers at community centers, local libraries or from a friend to request an application online.
- Introducing Opportunity Cards that enable non-profit organizations and others to pre-purchase Internet Essentials service in advance, for up to one year, for low-income families. This provides yet another way to accelerate enrollment by empowering community-based partners, businesses and foundations to help connect families to the Internet.
- Expanding low-cost computer options by offering customers the ability to purchase an Internet-ready desktop or laptop for less than $150, in addition to the netbooks that Comcast already offers. This partnership with Arrow (formerly Redemtech) was announced in the fall of 2012 and will be piloted in Philadelphia and Chicago before rolling out to other markets.
- Honoring the top 15 performing school districts with the Internet Essentials Gold Medal School District of Excellence Award to recognize the success of school districts nationwide and acknowledge their important role in helping to close the digital divide. In conjunction with the celebration of Comcast's 50 th anniversary later this year, each recognized district will be given 50 laptops for families or schools. Winners will be announced in the fall of 2013.