Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) has announced a partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to further extend its low-cost broadband service, Internet Essentials, to public housing in three regions.
Under the agreement, eligibility for the subsidized program will be extended to public housing residents in Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Seattle, Philadelphia and Nashville, Tenn.
Comcast also said that 600,000 low-income families, representing 2.4 million American individuals, have received Internet Essentials. The program provides Internet speeds up to 10 Mbps, a free Wi-Fi tour, digital literacy training, as well as the option to purchase a computer for less than $150.
As Comcast touted, its the eighth time since the program launched five years ago that the MSO has extended eligibility of it.
Comcast announced the expansion at in event in Miami, Fla. today, an event attended by Comcast's legal and regulatory affairs chief David L. Cohen, who also has the title of chief diversity officer. HUD Secretary Julián Castro was also there, as was Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez and City of Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado.
The event took place at the Rainbow Village public housing complex, with 150 Comcast techs on hand to hook up eligible residents on the spot.
"Internet access at home is essential to succeed in today's digital world on all fronts, from employment to education," Cohen said in a statement. "Unfortunately, a cruel irony is at work, as the majority of low-income families, including those in public housing, who truly need the transformative power of the Internet are not connected."
Comcast is expanding its Internet Essentials program as the FCC has made providing broadband to the poor more of a priority.
Earlier this month, the FCC said that a final proposal for a broadband Internet service subsidy for low-income families will be making the rounds at the commission. The plan to offer a $9.25 per month broadband subsidy is designed to shrink the connectivity gap in the United States. As FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has said, only 48 percent of U.S. households making less than $25,000 a year can afford high-speed Internet access.
- read this Comcast press release
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