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Cable Technology Feature Article

February 27, 2014

Comcast NBC Universal Pledges $1.3M to Close Digital Divide Gap in Low Income Areas

By Michael Guta, TMCnet Contributing Writer

It is hard to believe, but there is a considerable percentage of the population in the United States without access to computers and the Internet. Considering the importance of being computer literate in today's society, this demographic is at a huge disadvantage when it comes to improving their socioeconomic condition. This digital divide is in effect creating a two-tier society, where one will have many opportunities to advance, while the other will remain stagnant. The solution to this problem requires public and private organizations coming together to ensure everyone has the opportunity to acquire the necessary skills to use this technology. This means making the products and services affordable for low income individuals and families.

As one of the largest Internet service providers in the country, Comcast (News - Alert) NBCUniversal is making a two-year commitment with $1.3 million in cash and in-kind support to low-income communities in Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington DC to expand LIFT, a national nonprofit focused on lifting families out of poverty for good, and Digital Literacy hubs.

The resources donated by Comcast will allow LIFT to provide the know-how that is required to search for jobs online, access critical benefits, create household budgets and email addresses, and navigate the Internet to 13,000 community members. By empowering these individuals with the knowledge they need, it will be possible for them to build a foundation in which they'll be able to lift themselves out of their current situation.

"We believe in the power of innovation and using technology to tackle complicated challenges facing the community members we serve, and partnering with Comcast to expand our digital literacy programming makes perfect sense. Thousands of people will now be able to advance their job search, secure housing and connect to critical online tools that might otherwise have been unavailable to them," said Kirsten Lodal, LIFT’s Founder and CEO.

Comcast has been making this technology available for low income communities for some time now with its Internet Essentials initiative. By providing all the tools necessary to be computer literate and access the opportunities the Internet provides, Comcast has indeed hit the nail in the head on how to empower people the right way.

Internet Essentials provides:

  • Fast home Internet service for only $9.95 a month, plus tax without any price increases or payment for any activation or equipment rental fees
  • Purchase a computer at initial enrollment for the low price of just $149.99 + tax
  • Get free Internet training — online, in print and in person

It also includes Constant Guard Protection Suite, the most comprehensive online protection suite of any Internet provider, at no additional charge and top-rated Norton Security Suite and IDENTITY GUARD.

By leaving nothing to chance, Comcast has made it possible for anyone that is willing to work hard and acquire this knowledge a priceless opportunity and a stepping stone to a brighter future.

"A lack of digital literacy and understanding of how the Internet is relevant and useful are key barriers to broadband adoption in low-income communities," said Charisse R. Lillie, Vice President of Community Investment for Comcast Corporation and President of the Comcast Foundation.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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