FRESNO, Calif., March 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Comcast announced today it is providing $150,000 in grants to non-profit community organizations in California to create "Internet Essentials Learning Zones" in Fresno and Elk Grove. Internet Essentials from Comcast is the nation's largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program. It provides low-cost broadband 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.
Honoring the efforts of its community partners, Comcast has established a Gold Medal Recognition Program in which it is making more than $1 million in grants to non-profit partners in 15 communities across the country whose area school districts have led the way in connecting families to home broadband through Internet Essentials. California communities will be receiving two of those grants totaling $150,000 for non-profit partners -- $100,000 in Fresno and $50,000 in Elk Grove near Sacramento.
The non-profit community organizations in Fresno are the Boys and Girls Clubs of Fresno County, the Center for Multicultural Cooperation, the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation, and Reading & Beyond. In Elk Grove, the non-profit partners are the Boys and Girls Club of Sacramento, the La Familia Counseling Center, and Next Ed.
Also, Internet-Essentials eligible families in Fresno County, Sacramento County, San Joaquin County, and San Francisco County who are not currently customers will receive six months of complimentary Internet service if they apply for the program by March 18, 2014 and are approved. The families should call 1-855-846-8376 or visit www.InternetEssentials.com. For Spanish, they may call 1-855-765-6995 or visit www.InternetBasico.com.The grants in Fresno and Elk Grove will enable these communities to create a continuum of connectivity— or " Internet Essentials Learning Zones" — that begin in the classroom with wired schools, follow the students to wired libraries, wired computer centers, and wired after-school programs, and end in wired homes when the day is done. Community partners in these areas play a critical role in enhancing broadband technology access as well as offering family-focused digital literacy training. Additionally, Comcast also announced it has extended its Internet Essentials national broadband adoption program indefinitely – beyond its initial three-year commitment. In just two and a half years, the initiative has connected more than 1.2 million low-income Americans, or 300,000 families, to the power of broadband Internet. This includes 35,205 in the State of California and more than 12,600 in the San Francisco metro area, 9,250 in the Fresno metro area and 7,100 in the Sacramento metro area. The 15 Gold Medal recognized communities that will create Internet Essentials Learning Zones include: Adams County, Colo.; Atlanta, Ga.; Aurora, Colo.; Chicago, Ill.; Cicero- Berwyn, Ill.; Collier, Fla.; Denver, Colo.; Elk Grove, Calif.; Fresno, Calif.; Miami, Fla.; Palm Beach, Fla.; Pasadena, Texas; Seattle, Wash.; St. Paul, Minn.; and Tacoma, Wash. Comcast is also recognizing five "most improved" communities that are eligible to participate in the two-week, complimentary service opportunity. These include: Baltimore, Md.; Lee, Fla.; Philadelphia, Pa.; San Francisco; and Stockton, Calif.