Comcast expands internet program to veterans

Doris Richards
August 16, 2018

According to a progress report released Monday, the company has connected more than 6 million Americans - 2 million in the past year alone - through Internet Essentials, which provides low-priced internet and digital literacy training.

Comcast has expanded its low-priced broadband service to USA military veterans. The company also announced it will significantly expand eligibility to low-income military veterans, almost 1 million of whom live within the Comcast footprint.

"This program has had an enormous impact on millions of families and children who now have high-speed Internet at home, many for the first time in their lives", said Cohen in a statement.

Comcast voluntarily started Internet Essentials in 2011 as part of its commitment to the Federal Communications Commission in order to get its merger with NBC Universal approved.

Last month, Comcast announced it was testing a program to extend the low-cost broadband service to low-income senior citizens in parts of Florida and San Francisco.

The Internet Essentials program is in its seventh year of providing broadband access to low-income families. The cost of high-speed internet access is a deterrent, and some residents may not have the literacy training or experience to know why an internet connection is necessary, or may rely on mobile data. The expansion could make as many as 32,000 low-income veterans in New England eligible for the program, the company said. In addition, the company sold more than 85,000 heavily subsidised computers.

For nearly a decade politicians and policy makers in Washington, DC have been talking about closing the digital divide. According to the United States Census Bureau's 2016 American Community Survey, less than 70 percent of low-income veterans have Internet access, and about 60 percent own a computer. But the price of the service alone isn't the only barrier. The site now includes a variety of free videos, tools, and resources that can help individuals learn vital internet safety and digital skills.

Comcast's program can be helpful because it does not require new infrastructure, but it also depends on subscribers knowing it is available.

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