SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Ava Smith, Scott Bampton, Elizabeth White, Glenn Rossman, Pat Romanski

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Comcast to Invest $250,000 in Grants in Florida to Enhance Digital Learning; Company Also Extends Its National Broadband Adoption Program for Low-Income Families

Comcast announced today it is providing $250,000 in grants to non-profit community organizations in Miami Dade, Palm Beach and Collier counties to create “Internet Essentials Learning Zones” within these Florida communities. Community partners play a critical role in enhancing broadband technology access as well as offering family-focused digital literacy training.

Honoring the efforts of its community partners, Comcast has established a Gold Medal Recognition Program in which it is making more than $1 million in grants to dozens of non-profit partners in communities across the country that led the way in connecting families to home broadband through Internet Essentials. Florida communities will be receiving three of those grants totaling $250,000 for non-profit partners in Miami Dade, Palm Beach and Collier counties.

Also, Internet Essentials eligible families in these Florida communities who are not currently customers can receive six months of complimentary Internet service if they apply for the program by March 18, 2014. The families simply need to call 1-855-846-8376 or visit www.InternetEssentials.com. For Spanish, they may call 1-855-765-6995 or visit www.InternetBasico.com.

The grants in Florida will enable these communities to create a continuum of connectivity — or “Internet Essentials Learning Zones” — that begin in the classroom with wired schools, follow the students to wired libraries, wired computer centers, and wired after-school programs, and end in wired homes when the day is done.

“I believe that the moral imperative before us at this point in time is a connected way of living,” said Miami Dade County School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho. “Those that are not connected to the internet at home are at a significant educational and economic disadvantage compared to those who are.”

Additionally, Comcast also announced it has extended Internet Essentials indefinitely – beyond its initial three-year commitment. In just two a half years, the initiative has connected more than 1.2 million low-income Americans to the power of broadband Internet at home. In the State of Florida, through Internet Essentials Comcast has connected more than 160,000 low-income Floridians of which nearly 120,000 live in the South Florida area.

Announced in May 2011, Internet Essentials is designed to meet the needs of a specific population – low-income families with school-age children who are not currently connected to broadband Internet at home. However, no single program will completely close the digital divide.

To download broadcast quality b-roll featuring comments from Miami Dade and Palm Beach County officials and community partners, click here: B-Roll DOWNLOAD LINK

Miami-Dade County

  • Alberto Carvalho, Superintendent, Miami-Dade County Public Schools:

Link to view Interview: http://youtu.be/dvm-jCjGSS4

Spanish language interview: http://youtu.be/dNoaETXvpaE

“We know that you cannot operate or deliver big things working by yourself. Power of partnership is very evident. And the partnership that Miami-Dade County Public Schools has with Comcast and our communities is a very strong one. It provides us connectivity. It provides access to digital content in school and out of school, not only for our students, but for their family.”

Link to view interview: http://youtu.be/eYow4JxhKKI

Having Internet access levels the playing field for students and families in our community. The average income being $20,000, many families can't afford internet access. Internet Essentials brings an opportunity to students and families in our community to be able to afford internet, but more importantly to aide students and to aide them in their quest for a better life.”

  • George Cabrera, President/CEO, ASPIRA:

Link to view interview: http://youtu.be/o-clOGQIUKA

Spanish language interview: http://youtu.be/DBrZ7LOd4tE

“As an organization, we are working very hard to let the community know that technology is the new norm. It's the way we have to operate. It's something everyone needs to be aware of. Everyone needs to be trained in. So what we try to do as a community service partner is to be able to come in and say let us offer you this, let us give you this tool.

Palm Beach County

“Learning doesn’t end when you walk out of the schoolhouse. It is something that is continuous and these students really need to have the tools available to them 24/7. I would strongly encourage parents to take advantage of these opportunities for internet service in the home.”

Link to view Interview: http://youtu.be/uf3D679ayvM

“In the communities that we serve, internet is not a priority. We understand that our kids need it. Not only do they have it at school, but they need it at home also. Our seniors [citizens] right now are looking to expand their knowledge. They want to create their own website. They want to do banking online. They want to create opportunities to send pictures and text to family members and what a vast change that we've seen with those who participating.”

Link for interview: http://youtu.be/EKu3NbnsyYo

“One of the things that we are so sensitive to, that I’m very concerned about as an educator, is really wiping away that digital divide. There's no reason why everyone shouldn't have access to broadband.”

Collier County

“Our district places a strong emphasis on the use of technology as a tool to enhance the education of our students. Because of this, it is extremely helpful for our students to have connectivity while at home. Affordable home Internet service provided by Comcast goes a long way toward making that connectivity possible, especially for families that may struggle financially. Here at the district, our goal is to put ‘today’s technology in tomorrow’s hands.’ With Comcast as our partner, we are one step closer to doing just that.”

Link for Comcast interview: http://youtu.be/0pLFb0kHdH0

Derek Cooper, Comcast’s Regional Vice President of Government Affairs and Community Investment stated that “Internet Essentials plays an important role in helping to bridge the digital divide but we recognize we still have a long way to go. We knew this was not going to be an easy task, but by extending the program and continuing to make enhancements, we remain firmly committed to the important cause of helping low-income families get online at home and take advantage of all the Internet has to offer.”

Follow all the news about Comcast Florida on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ComcastFlorida and on Twitter @ComcastFL

About Internet Essentials:

Internet Essentials from Comcast is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program. It provides low-cost broadband service for $9.95 a month plus tax; the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for under $150; and multiple options to access free digital literacy training in print, online, and in-person. Eligible families must have at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program, including public, parochial, private, and homeschooled students. We estimate a total of approximately 2.6 million eligible families live in our service area and therefore could apply for Internet Essentials.

For more information or to apply for the program, visit www.InternetEssentials.com or call 1-855-846-8376, or, for Spanish, visit www.InternetBasico.com or call 1-855-765-6995.

Visit the Internet Essentials Media Center at http://comcastcorporation.com/internetessentials

About Comcast Corporation

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is a global media and technology company with two primary businesses, Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is the nation's largest video, high-speed Internet and phone provider to residential customers under the XFINITY brand and also provides these services to businesses. NBCUniversal operates 30 news, entertainment and sports cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations, television station groups, Universal Pictures and Universal Parks and Resorts. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.

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