Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and The Women’s Foundation of Colorado joined Comcast at separate events today to announce the largest expansion ever of Internet Essentials in Colorado. The program, which is the nation’s largest, most comprehensive, and most successful low-income broadband adoption initiative, will now double the number of eligible low-income households across the state, including those with people with disabilities and seniors.
Earlier this month, Comcast announced the most significant change to Internet Essentials in the program’s history. The Company estimates a total of nearly seven million households nationwide now have access to low-cost Internet service, which doubles the total number of previously eligible households. Since 2011, more than 300,000 residents across the state of Colorado, including more than 80,000 low-income people across Denver, Aurora, and Lakewood, have been connected to the program.
“This expansion is the culmination of an audacious goal we set eight years ago, which was to meaningfully and significantly close the digital divide for low-income Americans,” said David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast NBCUniversal. “Whether the Internet is used for students to do their homework, adults to look for and apply for new jobs, seniors to keep in touch with friends and family, or veterans to access their well-deserved benefits, it is absolutely essential to success in our modern, digital age.”
The first event held today was a luncheon co-hosted by The Women’s Foundation of Colorado (WFCO), during which national leaders highlighted the work being done in our communities to bridge the divides in both digital access and gender equality. Comcast’s Cohen, and 2018 USA Women’s Hockey Olympic Gold-Medalists, Jocelyn Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando, who serve as national spokespeople for Internet Essentials, both pledged their support for equal pay for professional women athletes and digital inclusion. The Lamoureux twins also spoke about their fight with USA Hockey for better pay and more equal treatment.
“We’re proud to be partnering with Comcast to help close the digital divide here in Colorado,” added the Lamoureux twins. “It’s crucial that we help all low-income Americans gain an Internet connection at home, especially to provide access for women and their families, so everyone has a fair playing field on which to compete in sports and in life.”
“In Colorado, we continue making progress toward equality, but there is much more work to do,” said Renee Ferrufino, vice president of development at The Women’s Foundation of Colorado. “Increasing access to resources that help all Coloradans work toward high-growth careers and economic security is critical for the future vitality of our state. This includes access to equal pay, high-quality child care, digital skills, job training, and more.”
At the second event, Comcast joined Mayor Michael Hancock and Denver Parks and Rec at the Sun Valley Youth Center, a care facility for at-risk youth from a low-income, public housing neighborhood. Comcast presented the city with a grant valued at $100,000 to enhance the DenverConnect service which provides mobile outreach and city services to seniors in underserved communities and to pilot a new digital learning center at area rec centers. These services will further connect underrepresented communities and help close the digital divide. Comcast also surprised 100 youths with a free laptop computer and six months of Internet service. In addition, Comcast’s Cohen presented Mayor Hancock with a special Internet Essentials Innovation and Inclusion Hero Award for his many years of support to help close the digital divide in Denver.
“Closing the digital gap for low-income residents, underserved kids, residents with disabilities and our older adults is a big step in closing the equity gaps in our communities,” Mayor Hancock said. “Our DenverConnect program is about taking city services and resources directly to the residents who need them most, and I want to thank Comcast for their support – this is a phenomenal opportunity to make sure Denver’s older adults have a voice and are connected to services.”
Since August 2011, Internet Essentials has connected more than eight million low-income individuals, from two million households, to the Internet at home, most for the first time in their lives. The announcement follows 11 prior eligibility expansions, including last year’s extension of the program to low-income veterans. To apply for the program, low-income applicants simply need to show they are participating in one of more than a dozen different government assistance programs. A full list can be found at www.internetessentials.com.
Internet Essentials has an integrated, wrap-around design that addresses each of the three major barriers to broadband adoption that research has identified. These include: a lack of digital literacy skills, lack of awareness of the relevance of the Internet to everyday life needs, and fear of the Internet; the lack of a computer; and cost of Internet service. As a result, the program includes: multiple options to access free digital literacy training in print, online, and in person; the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for less than $150; and low-cost, high-speed Internet service for $9.95 a month plus tax. The program is structured as a partnership between Comcast and tens of thousands of school districts, libraries, elected officials, and nonprofit community partners.
About Internet Essentials
Internet Essentials is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program, with an integrated, wrap-around design that addresses each of the three major barriers to broadband adoption that research has identified. These include: a lack of digital literacy skills, lack of awareness of the relevance of the Internet to every day life needs, and fear of the Internet, the lack of a computer, and cost. As a result, the program includes: multiple options to access free digital literacy training in print, online, and in person, the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for less than $150; and low-cost, high-speed Internet service for $9.95 a month plus tax. The program is structured as a partnership between Comcast and tens of thousands of school districts, libraries, elected officials, and nonprofit community partners. For more information, or to apply for the program in seven different languages, please visit www.internetessentials.com or call 1-855-846-8376. Spanish-only speakers can also call 1-855-765-6995.
About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company with three primary businesses: Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal, and Sky. Comcast Cable is one of the United States’ 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 is global and 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. Sky is one of Europe’s leading media and entertainment companies, connecting customers to a broad range of video content through its pay television services. It also provides communications services, including residential high-speed internet, phone, and wireless services. Sky operates the Sky News broadcast network and sports and entertainment networks, produces original content, and has exclusive content rights. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.