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Internet Essentials – Op Ed by Bryan Thomas, Regional Vice President of Engineering, Mountain West Region

In August, Comcast expanded the pool of eligibility for Internet Essentials  — basically, any home already receiving some kind of federal aid, including EBT or Medicaid are now eligible. This means 27,000 more low-income Utahans now qualify for in-home – high-speed – low-cost internet service through Internet Essentials. Comcast’s Internet Essentials program has connected 8 million low-income Americans to affordable internet service – including 112,000 in Utah – and invested more than $650 million in cash and in-kind support for digital literacy training and educational initiatives.

As a father of five, I know firsthand how in-home internet can impact children’s education. Most homework assignments today often require the use of a computer and internet access, whether it be to do light research, read material, or type up an essay – it is absolutely essential to be connected in our modern, digital age.

Affordable internet offers an array of opportunities to gain access to job skills, access health information, promote smarter shopping and civic engagement, and use of e-government services as an alternative to the sometimes-costly process of traveling to government offices in person.

Those without access to in-home internet service may have a greater need to access government services and may not realize more and more of those services are available online. Additionally, some parents may not understand how essential the Internet has become for students, especially those in underperforming schools.

Comcast understands when people – who would otherwise not have access – connect to the internet they disproportionately improve their quality of life — particularly for older and poorer Utahans. For example, next-generation applications will focus on connected homes and digital health care — essential tools for helping seniors age in place. That’s one of the reasons it is imperative to increase digital equity and close the digital divide in Utah.

For more information, or to apply for the program, go to https://www.xfinity.com/learn/internet-service/internet-essentials or call 1-855-846-8376.  Spanish-only speakers can call 1-855-765-6995.

Bryan Thomas, Regional Vice President of Engineering, Mountain West Region

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