Comcast recently announced it will include up to six months of complimentary service for any new family that has not yet applied for Internet Essentials. Families who are approved for Internet Essentials between now and September 20, 2014 will receive up to six months of free Internet service. Since 2011, Comcast’s innovative broadband adoption program has connected more than 350,000 families, about 1.4 million low-income Americans, to the power of the Internet, including more than 8,900 families in Oregon & SW Washington. The program is available in 39 states and the District of Columbia. Comcast also announced an amnesty program for certain low-income families who could qualify for Internet Essentials, but have a past due balance. Customers who have an outstanding bill that is more than one year old are now 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 the other eligibility criteria. “Internet at home and digital literacy are critical components of success in this digital age. With Internet Essentials, kids can do their homework and parents can connect more with their children’s teachers and schools. Students can access information and tools they need to succeed,” remarked Rodrigo Lopez, Comcast Oregon & SW Washington regional vice president. “I am excited about the complimentary service offer and amnesty program, as these opportunities will help bridge the digital divide for more families in need.” Throughout the back to school season, Comcast will actively engage with parents, teachers, non-profit partners and elected officials to help spread the word to low-income families about the program. The company plans to air an unprecedented number of public service announcements (PSAs) that promote the new, six months free offer, and to focus on schools where 100 percent of students receive a free lunch through the National School Lunch Program and can therefore automatically apply. Comcast will also continue to offer families the option to purchase a computer at less than $150, as well as provide access to free digital literacy training online, in print and in person.