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Blog // Connect Michigan

Comcast Launches Low-Cost Internet Program In Michigan

By CMI Staff

 

Comcast recently launched a new program called “Internet Essentials” at Focus: HOPE, an organization dedicated to developing intelligent and practical solutions to the problems of hunger, economic disparity, inadequate education, and racial divisiveness in southeast Michigan. This initiative has the potential for being an important step toward bridging the digital divide for the estimated 183,358 children in Michigan who do not have home broadband service, according to the 2010 Connect Michigan Residential Technology Assessment. The Technology Assessment also lists the barriers to broadband adoption, a few of which are addressed in this new program including:

• The lack of understanding of how the Internet is useful
• The cost of a home computer
• The cost of Internet service
 
According to Comcast, this national program will “provide low-cost access to the Internet and affordable computers as well as digital literacy training to families with children who are eligible to receive free lunches under the National School Lunch Program.”
 
In a July 2011 study by Connected Nation on Broadband Adoption Among Low-Income Households, it was reported that a significant barrier to the adoption and use of broadband technology is related to income. Households with lower incomes subscribe to broadband at a lower rate than other households—resulting in an “Affordability Gap” with significant economic consequences.
 
The new initiative is a byproduct from the merger between Comcast and NBC. Comcast, as part of its conditions to the merger, agreed to increase broadband deployment in low-income households.
 
The special low-income plan will cost $9.95 and will offer download speeds of 1.5 Mbps. Comcast, which operates in 39 states across the U.S., will offer the service to new customer families that have at least one child receiving free school lunches via the Nation School Lunch Program. Eligible families will also have the opportunity to purchase a Wi-Fi capable netbook for $149.99.
 
The program will accept new customers for “three full school years,” according to the program’s FAQ page.
 
For more information on the Internet Essentials Program, visit www.internetessentials.com. For more information on helping to reach those who are underserved by broadband technology in Michigan please visit http://www.connectmi.org and/or www.connectednation.org.
 

 

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