Four million low-income Americans have crossed the digital divide through Comcast’s Internet Essentials program

Jackie Joyner-Kersee courtesy Comcast

Comcast Renames Six-Time Olympic Medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee as National Spokesperson

Comcast announced its Internet Essentials program has now connected more than four million low-income Americans, in one million households, to high-speed Internet service at home.  

The company also announced three key program enhancements. For the fourth time in six years, Comcast will increase the program’s Internet service speeds to up to 15/2 Mbps. Internet Essentials customers now also receive 40 hours of free out-of-home WiFi access per month to the company’s growing network of 18 million Xfinity WiFi hotspots. And Comcast is expanding its pilot program for low-income senior citizens from five cities and metropolitan areas to 12.

David Cohen, senior executive vice president and chief diversity officer of Comcast, made the announcements in Miami with six-time Olympic medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who will serve for the second year as Internet Essentials’ national spokesperson. Cohen also introduced Adamari López, host of Telemundo’s “Un Nuevo Día,” who will become the program’s first ever national Hispanic spokesperson. The three kicked off a multi-city tour, which will run through October.

“When we started this program six years ago, we never imagined four million low-income Americans would benefit from it,” said Cohen.  “We also never would have reached this milestone without our many dedicated nonprofit partners, elected officials, educators, employees, and advocates who were all united by the belief that the Internet is essential, not only to compete in the 21st century economy, but also to be connected to loved ones and the world.  While this milestone is a wonderful moment to celebrate, it also inspires all of us to keep going to connect even more families to all that the Internet has to offer for education, jobs, healthcare, news, information, and entertainment.”

“Growing up in an under-served area, I recognize the value of having access to the Internet, and today, even entry-level jobs require you have tech skills. Without access to the Internet a whole generation could be left behind,” said Joyner-Kersee. “I remain so honored that Comcast asked me to serve as the national spokesperson for Internet Essentials. In my post-Olympic career, I’ve tried to inspire students and athletes to reach their dreams. They can’t do that, however, if they don’t work hard or have the tools they need to succeed. The Internet Essentials program gives every child access to a level playing field so we don’t leave an entire generation behind.”

Internet Essentials has an integrated, wrap-around design meant to address each of the three major barriers to broadband adoption – digital literacy, access to computer equipment, and affordable Internet service. The program is also structured as a partnership between Comcast and thousands of school districts, libraries, elected officials, and nonprofit community partners​.

 Internet Essentials is the nation’s largest and high-speed Internet adoption program for low-income Americans.  It provides low-cost high-speed Internet service for $9.95 a month plus tax, the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for under $15 and multiple options to access free digital literacy training in print, online and in person.


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