Submitted by Comcast

With distance learning plans rolling out across Washington state due to the coronavirus, Comcast today announced a new program for schools and nonprofits located in Bellingham and Whatcom County to connect low-income K-12 students to the Internet at home. The “Internet Essentials Partnership Program” is designed to help accelerate Internet adoption at a critical time.

In nearly ten years, Internet Essentials has become the nation’s largest and most successful low-income Internet adoption program and has connected millions of people to the Internet. To date, the program has connected more than 8,800 people in Whatcom County, including  aproximately 6,000 in the city of Bellingham. The program offers households low-cost, broadband Internet service for $9.95/month, the option to purchase a heavily subsidized computer, and multiple options for digital literacy training. 

The Internet Essentials Partnership Program is supported through public-private collaboration and enables entire communities to work together to coordinate funding to help connect K-12 students at no cost to the customer. The program also includes two months of free Internet service for new Internet Essentials customers. Visit: www.comcastcorporation.com/internetessentials for more information.

The initiative builds on Comcast’s recent announcement that it will continue to 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. Comcast also announced today it is giving all Internet Essentials customers its innovative xFi platform, which enables parents to control and manage their children’s WiFi connected devices.

Putting Home WiFi Controls into Parents’ Hands and Keeping Families Safe Online:

With so 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.

Partnering to Accelerate Internet Adoption and Address Digital and Media Literacy:

As research shows, barriers to broadband adoption are more complex than having access to an Internet connection, even when it’s heavily discounted or free. It’s also clear that no single entity can solve the digital divide alone. As a result, the success of Internet Essentials is due to partnerships with more than 10,000 government and elected officials, school districts, libraries, nonprofits, community-based organizations, and others across the nation. Collectively, they help to address the full range of barriers to broadband adoption.

About Internet Essentials:

Since August 2011, Internet Essentials has connected millions of low-income households to the Internet, most for the very first time. During that period, the program has grown from focusing on bridging the “homework gap” for school-age children to addressing digital equity issues for all Americans. The program offers low-cost, high-speed Internet service for $9.95 a month plus tax, provides access to free digital skills training in print, online, and in person, and includes the option to purchase a low-cost Internet-ready computer. For individuals and organizations interested in becoming a partner, please visit: https://partner.internetessentials.com to order free collateral materials.

To apply, go to: www.internetessentials.com using any web-connected device, including mobile phones. The accessible website also includes the option to video chat with customer service agents in American Sign Language. In addition, there are two dedicated phone numbers: 1-855-846-8376 for English and
1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.

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