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Press release from PR Newswire

Comcast Kicks Off Year Two of Groundbreaking Internet Essentials Broadband Adoption Program In Washington, D.C.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Comcast Kicks Off Year Two of Groundbreaking Internet Essentials Broadband Adoption Program In Washington, D.C.11:00 EDT Monday, September 24, 2012Company Joined by D.C. Mayor, Public School Officials and Former NFL Coach Tony Dungy to Highlight New Program Enhancements and Distribute Backpacks to StudentsWASHINGTON, Sept. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Comcast today kicked off year two of Internet Essentials, an ambitious and comprehensive broadband adoption program designed to help close the digital divide for low-income Americans, at a special event held at Kramer Middle School in Washington, D.C.  Comcast Executive Vice President David L. Cohen was joined by Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, Kramer Middle School Principal Kwame Simmons, and former NFL Coach and Internet Essentials spokesman Tony Dungy to highlight new enhancements to the program and to distribute hundreds of backpacks filled with school supplies and information on Internet Essentials to students in conjunction with the Backpacks 4 Kids program.  To date, more than 100,000 families (or 400,000 Americans) nationwide - including approximately 2,000 families (or 8,000 residents) in the Washington, D.C. market - have been connected to the Internet through Internet Essentials. In its second year, Comcast continues to enhance the program with new features and processes designed to accelerate enrollment. "In our ultra-competitive world, it is essential that families have access to the Internet," Mayor Gray said. "Reliable broadband access helps our children become stronger students and prepares them for an increasingly interconnected world. I am proud of the work we have done to help close the digital divide in Washington, D.C., but there is still much more to be done. I'm urging all members of our community to spread the word about the need to connect more families and help increase broadband adoption."Cohen added, "As the nation's largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program, Internet Essentials is helping to level the playing field for hundreds of thousands of children and their parents.  We would not have been able to connect these families without the strong support of numerous legislators, schools and community-based organizations across the Washington, D.C. area and beyond, and we thank them for all they have done to make the program a success."  Principal Simmons said, "The Internet is an increasingly important learning resource in our classrooms and in the home, and helps our students to build the digital literacy skills that will become so critical to them as they join the workforce.  Through Internet Essentials, and through the generosity of those involved in the Backpacks 4 Kids program, our students are being provided the tools they need to succeed this school year and throughout their academic careers.""As a father and mentor, I know first-hand how critical the Internet has become to our children's educational and professional success, no matter which career path they choose to pursue," said Dungy. "I am grateful to Comcast for offering a program that will help prepare the next generation for a bright future, and make a positive, lasting impact on so many low-income families across the country." New in 2012:Since Internet Essentials launched, Comcast has made a number of program enhancements including:Expanded eligibility criteria to include families with children eligible to receive reduced price school lunches under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).  This means nearly 300,000 additional households are now eligible for the program, bringing the total to 2.3 million eligible families; Doubled broadband speeds to up to 3 Mbps downstream and up to 768 Kbps upstream; Upgraded the free Internet safety software to include the Constant Guard Protection Suite, which includes top-rated Norton Security Suite, identity theft protection and more; Enriched digital literacy training efforts both online and in-person, including offering a series of short videos, featuring NBC and Telemundo news personalities Al Roker, Kate Snow, Jenna Wolfe and Jose Diaz-Balart, discussing how to use job search tools and social networking sites as well as tips for what parents should know about cyber bullying; Streamlined the approval process by providing an instant approval process for all students who attend schools with the highest percentage of NSLP participation, which includes Provision 2 schools; Introduced a bulk order program that empowers community-based organizations to purchase Internet Essentials accounts so they can connect the eligible families they serve. Internet Essentials Program Details:Internet Essentials addresses three primary barriers to broadband adoption that research has identified: a lack of understanding of how the Internet is relevant and useful, the cost of a home computer and the cost of the Internet service.  Program participants receive: Residential Internet service for $9.95 a month plus applicable taxes; No price increases, no activation fees, or equipment rental fees; A voucher to purchase a low-cost computer for $149.99 plus tax; and Access to free digital literacy training in print, online and in-person.A household is eligible to participate if it meets all of the following criteria: Is located where Comcast offers Internet service; Has at least one child who is eligible to receive either a free or reduced price school lunch under the NSLP; Has not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days; Does not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment.Comcast will sign up eligible families in the program through the end of the 2013-2014 school year.  Any household that qualifies will remain eligible for Internet Essentials if at least one child eligible for either a free or reduced price school lunch remains living in the household.  In Washington, D.C., Comcast is working with a growing network of community-based organizations to spread the word about Internet Essentials and provide digital literacy training.  Those organizations include Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington, Byte Back, D.C. Public Libraries, Latin American Youth Center, University of D.C., YMCA of Metropolitan Washington and more.For general information about Internet Essentials, please visit www.internetessentials.com for English and visit www.internetbasico.com for Spanish. Educators or third-parties interested in helping to spread the word can find more information at www.internetessentials.com/partner. Parents looking to enroll in the program can call 1-855-846-8376 or, for Spanish, 1-855-765-6995. About Comcast Corporation:Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) (www.comcast.com) is one of the nation's leading providers of entertainment, information and communications products and services. Comcast is principally involved in the operation of cable systems through Comcast Cable and in the development, production and distribution of entertainment, news, sports and other content for global audiences through NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is one of the nation's largest video, high-speed Internet and phone providers to residential and business customers. Comcast is the majority owner and manager of NBCUniversal, which owns and operates entertainment and news cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, local television station groups, television production operations, a major motion picture company and theme parks.SOURCE ComcastFor further information: Aimee N. Metrick, Vice President, Public Relations, +1-301-836-9314, aimee_metrick@cable.comcast.com, or Alisha Martin, Senior Manager, Public Relations, +1-410-513-3155, alisha_martin@cable.comcast.com