Internet Essentials, a program launched by Comcast during the 2011 “Back to School” season, is an initiative designed to help close the digital divide. The program is available to families living in Comcast’s service areas with children who are eligible to receive free or reduced price school lunches under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). The goal of Internet Essentials is to help ensure more families benefit from all the Internet has to offer.
While participating in Internet Essentials, customers receive:
- Residential Internet service for just $9.95 + tax a month;
- No price increases, no activation fees and no equipment rental fees;
- A computer available at initial enrollment for just $149.99 + tax;
- Access to free Internet training: online, in print and in-person.
A household is eligible to participate in the Internet Essentials program if it meets all of the following criteria:
- Has at least one child who is eligible to receive free or reduced price school lunches through their enrollment in the National School Lunch Program;
- Is located where Comcast offers Internet service;
- Has not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days; and
- Does not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment.
An enhancement to the program was announced last week, as Comcast launched the newly redesigned online “Learning Center” on the Internet Essentials Website www.InternetEssentials.com/Learning. The enhanced online Learning Center now includes a social media section, a refreshed design that features a guided tour for easier navigation and new digital literacy education videos.
The new Learning Center and videos support Comcast’s digital literacy education and awareness efforts by providing consumers with basic resources and tools on how to explore and use the Internet. The videos feature some of NBC’s “Today” Show talent including: Al Roker, Sara Haines and Jenna Wolfe. Other TV talent showcased in the videos include: Telemundo’s Jose Diaz-Balart, MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts and NBC’s Kate Snow and Joelle Garguilo.
There are seven new digital literacy videos that can be accessed by anyone from the Learning Center on the Internet Essentials Website. The videos are approximately three to five minutes in length and give step-by-step directions on topics including: How to Search the Web; Email Basics; Educational Resources/Homework Helpers; Health Care Resources; Introduction to Social Media and Online Job Search Tools. Additional archival videos from NBC Learn, the educational arm of NBC News, are also now available on the Learning Center and focus on Internet safety and security topics ranging from spam and spyware to cyberbullying. The Learning Center is an online portal that provides educational information like the videos, as well as a list of free in-person Internet training locations and links to other resources to help consumers create a safe, secure and fun online experience for their families.
Comcast has also enhanced the Internet safety and security software that is provided for free with Internet Essentials to include the Constant Guard Protection Suite, which includes top-rated Norton Security software, password safeguards and identity theft protection software.
For more information about Internet Essentials, visit www.InternetEssentials.com for English or www.InternetBasico.com for Spanish. Educators or those 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 1-855-8-INTERNET (1-855-846-8376) or, for Spanish1-855-SOLO-995 (1-855-765-6995).