Comcast continues to offer Internet connectivity assistance to help improve digital equity and create positive opportunities for low-income students and families. (Photo: fizkes, Getty Images/iStockphoto)
With distance learning plans rolling out across the country due to the coronavirus, Comcast recently announced a new program for cities, schools and nonprofits to connect large numbers of low-income, kindergarten through 12th grade students to the Internet at home. The Internet Essentials Partnership Program is designed to help accelerate Internet adoption at a critical time. Internet Essentials offers households low-cost, broadband Internet service for $9.95 per month, the option to purchase a heavily subsidized computer, and multiple options for digital literacy training. Comcast also announced it is giving all Internet Essentials customers its innovative xFi platform, which enables parents to control and manage their children’s WiFi connected devices.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Internet Essentials Partnership Program has already collaborated with more than 70 schools across the country. The program relies on public-private partnerships and enables entire communities to work together to coordinate funding to help connect K-12 students. The program also includes two months of free Internet service for new Internet Essentials customers. For information, visit www.comcastcorporation.com/IEPP.
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“We’ve seen firsthand that low-cost Internet access is an important part of improving digital equity and creating positive opportunities for low-income students and families,” said Dana Strong, president, Xfinity Consumer Services. “Through this new partnership program, we are accelerating the efforts of cities, schools, philanthropies, nonprofits, and private citizens to collaborate and open the doors of Internet access for more families in need.”
The initiative builds on Comcast’s recent announcement that it will offer, through the end of 2020, all new Internet Essentials customers two months of free Internet service and it will forgive back debt due so more families can apply.
Also, with many families at home, parents and caregivers need controls to manage their home WiFi connection and their children’s devices. So, Comcast is providing all Internet Essentials customers free access to xFi, which is a simple, digital dashboard that enables customers to set up and manage their home WiFi. With it, they can see what devices are connected, set safe-browsing modes so children can only access age-appropriate content, get notifications about activity on their home WiFi, and have the ability to pause devices for dinner or bedtime.
Comcast also announced plans to convene a series of virtual national and regional
summits this fall. Each one will focus on several issues including: education, broadband adoption, digital and media literacy and training, and Internet safety.
The company also plans to publish its annual Internet Essentials progress report and relaunch its Internet Essentials Partner Portal, www.internetessentials.com/partner, to include case studies, research, and links to creative broadband adoption solutions. Resources there will be made free for anyone to access, including other Internet Service Providers and nonprofits.
To apply for Internet Essentials, call (855) 846-8376 for English or (855) 765-6995 for Spanish or visit www.internetessentials.com using any web-connected device, including mobile phones. The website also includes the option to video chat with customer service agents in American Sign Language.
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