We’re committed to closing the digital divide for Coloradans and all Americans, and last week we announced the largest expansion ever of our affordable high-speed home Internet program, Internet Essentials, to all low-income Coloradans in our service area.
Internet Essentials is the nation’s largest, most comprehensive and most successful low-income broadband adoption initiative. Since 2011, we’ve connected more than 300,000 residents across the state of Colorado to the internet at home — most for the very first time. Through this expansion, we’re more than doubling the eligible population for the program.
Last week, we partnered with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and The Women’s Foundation of Colorado to celebrate this news and ensure all families and individuals who can benefit from the program know about it.
To talk about the connection between digital inclusivity and economic security for women and all individuals, we co-hosted a luncheon where we discussed how together as a community, we can bridge the divides in both digital access and gender equality. We were also joined by 2018 USA Women’s Hockey Olympic Gold-Medalists, Jocelyn Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando, who serve as national spokespeople for Internet Essentials. They both pledged their support for equal pay for professional women athletes and spoke about their negotiations with USA Hockey for better pay and more equal treatment.
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.”
To close out the afternoon alongside Mayor Michael Hancock and the Executive Director of Denver Parks & Recreation, Happy Hanes, we sent more than 100 Denver students home with new laptops so they can be ready for anything as they take on the new school year. In addition to the surprise for the students, we presented the city with three grants valued at $100,000 to enhance the DenverConnect service, which provides mobile outreach and city services to seniors in underserved communities and two pilot programs to further connect underrepresented communities and help close the digital divide.
Closing the digital gap for low-income residents, underserved kids, residents with disabilities and our older adult population 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 its support – this is a phenomenal opportunity to make sure Denver’s older adults have a voice and are connected to services.”
Internet Essentials has an integrated, wrap-around design addressing 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. 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.
To be eligible to apply to the program, low-income applicants simply need to show they are participating in one of more than a dozen different government assistance programs. These include: Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). A full list of these programs can be found at www.internetessentials.com.
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.