With the start of the new school year, Comcast is re-launching Internet Essentials, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption initiative for low-income families. This marks the program’s third year, and in the 22 months since the program was first launched, more than 220,000 families, benefitting an estimated 900,000 low-income Americans nationwide, now have a broadband connection at home. This includes 6,300 families and more than 25,000 individuals in Oregon and SW Washington. Comcast employees are handing out backpacks at Cesar Chavez Elementary School in Portland as part of the Tools For Schools Program with Schoolhouse Supplies, and this is one in a series of back to school events Comcast is hosting in 23 states across the country to raise visibility about bridging the digital divide in America and connecting more families to the Internet. “Thanks to community leaders, nonprofit organizations and schools nationwide, more than 220,000 families or 900,000 low-income Americans, and 6,300 families and 25,000 individuals in Oregon and SW Washington, now have the opportunity to use the power of the Internet at home to get ahead in work, education, and life, just by doing things online that many of us take for granted, such as completing homework, applying for a job, researching a health condition, or paying a bill,” said Rodrigo Lopez, Regional Vice President for the Oregon and SW Washington region. “Together we are making real and significant progress in closing the digital divide here locally and across the country.” The momentum of Internet Essentials continues to increase. Since the program’s launch in August 2011, Internet Essentials has enrolled upwards of 50,000 new families every six months. In the last six months alone, 70,000 new families have signed up. In addition, Comcast has distributed more than 18,000 subsidized computers; trained nearly 20,000 people; publicized the program in more than 4,000 school districts and more than 30,000 schools; broadcast nearly 2 million public service announcements and partnered with nearly 7,000 community based organizations, agencies, and officials to help spread the word about the program.