A majority of the largest U.S K-12 school districts are going fully online for the fall semester, while hundreds more plan to incorporate at least some online learning into their back-to-school plans. The lack of in-person classes has many direct and ripple effects, but one of the greatest concerns is insufficient access to high speed internet, especially for low-income students. Without access to basic high speed internet, kids can't fully participate in online classes, putting their academic progress at risk.
In light of this concern, Comcast today announced a new program for cities, schools, and nonprofits to connect large numbers of low-income K-12 students to the Internet at home. The “Internet Essentials Partnership Program” is designed to help accelerate Internet adoption, offering 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. Comcast also announced today it is giving all Internet Essentials customers its xFi platform, which enables parents to control and manage their children’s WiFi connected devices.
The program relies on public-private partnerships and enables entire communities to work together to coordinate funding to help connect K-12 students. The program also includes two months of free Internet service for new Internet Essentials customers. Recent partnerships with schools in Chicago, Atlanta, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Portland, and Arlington, VA mean more than 200,000 qualified students now have a greater opportunity to get connected. Visit: www.comcastcorporation.com/IEPP 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.
Putting Home WiFi Controls into Parents’ Hands
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.
Comcast also announced plans today that it will convene a series of virtual national and regional summits this fall. Each one will focus on several issues including: education, broadband adoption, digital and media literacy and training, and Internet safety. In addition, this fall Comcast will publish its annual Internet Essentials progress report and relaunch its Internet Essentials Partner Portal, located at www.internetessentials.com/partner, to include case studies, research, and links to creative broadband adoption solutions. Resources there will be made free for anyone to access, including other Internet Service Providers and nonprofits.