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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Marty Puranik, Marco Meinardi

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Comcast Offers up to Six Months of Complimentary Internet Service and an Amnesty Program for Low-Income Families

Comcast recently announced it will include up to six months of complimentary service for any new family that has not yet applied for Internet Essentials. Families who are approved for Internet Essentials between now and September 20, 2014 will receive up to six months of free Internet service. Since 2011, Comcast’s innovative broadband adoption program has connected more than 350,000 families, about 1.4 million low-income Americans, to the power of the Internet, including more than 8,900 families in Oregon & SW Washington. The program is available in 39 states and the District of Columbia.

Comcast also announced an amnesty program for certain low-income families who could qualify for Internet Essentials, but have a past due balance. Customers who have an outstanding bill that is more than one year old are now eligible for the program. Comcast will offer amnesty for that debt for the purpose of connecting to Internet Essentials, so long as the customer meets all the other eligibility criteria.

“Internet at home and digital literacy are critical components of success in this digital age. With Internet Essentials, kids can do their homework and parents can connect more with their children’s teachers and schools. Students can access information and tools they need to succeed,” remarked Rodrigo Lopez, Comcast Oregon & SW Washington regional vice president. “I am excited about the complimentary service offer and amnesty program, as these opportunities will help bridge the digital divide for more families in need.”

Throughout the back to school season, Comcast will actively engage with parents, teachers, non-profit partners and elected officials to help spread the word to low-income families about the program. The company plans to air an unprecedented number of public service announcements (PSAs) that promote the new, six months free offer, and to focus on schools where 100 percent of students receive a free lunch through the National School Lunch Program and can therefore automatically apply. Comcast will also continue to offer families the option to purchase a computer at less than $150, as well as provide access to free digital literacy training online, in print and in person.

Since 2011, Comcast and the Comcast Foundation have dedicated more than $200 million in cash and in-kind support to fund digital readiness initiatives nationwide, reaching more than 1.75 million people through non-profit, digital literacy partners. In 2013, Comcast announced its largest non-profit collaboration to date with Khan Academy to bring free, world-class online educational content to more low-income families. Khan Academy offers a personalized online learning experience to students, in subjects from basic math to physics, biology, economics, art history, computer science, health and medicine and more. Khan Academy has provided 400 million lessons and learners have completed over 2 billion exercise problems. Comcast has committed to airing hundreds of thousands of PSAs for and providing significant digital promotion, in both English and Spanish, of Khan Academy and its educational resources.

In March, Comcast announced the indefinite continuation of Internet Essentials, well beyond its original three-year commitment. The program’s impact continues to grow as the company works to expand its national and local efforts to address the digital divide for eligible students and families. Since its launch in 2011 to the end of June 2014, Comcast has:

  • Sold nearly 30,000 subsidized computers at less than $150 each.
  • Distributed nearly 37 million Internet Essentials brochures at no cost.
  • Broadcast more than 4 million public service announcements, valued at nearly $51 million.
  • Welcomed nearly 2.2 million visitors to the Internet Essentials websites in English and Spanish and the Online Learning Center.
  • Fielded more than 2.3 million phone calls to our Internet Essentials call center.
  • Offered Internet Essentials in more than 30,000 schools and 4,000 school districts, in 39 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Partnered with thousands of community-based organizations, government agencies, and federal, state, and local elected officials to spread the word.
  • Dedicated $1 million in grants to create Internet Essentials Learning Zones, where networks of non-profit partners are working together to enhance public Internet access and increase family-focused digital literacy training.

Based on customer surveys, we have also learned a lot about what customers think about having Internet Essentials.

  • 98% said they would recommend the program to friends and families.
  • 97% said they use the service so their kids can do homework.
  • 90% said they were satisfied with the program.
  • 82% said they use the service every day or almost every day.

Comcast and the Comcast Foundation have also made significant investments in nationwide digital readiness, training, and safety programs with partners like the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and The Arc. These partnerships integrate digital readiness education into program curricula and offer the disabilities community a better and safer opportunity to access and be empowered by digital technologies. Also, the Comcast Digital Connectors program has trained and certified thousands of youth in Internet and computer skills across the U.S.

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.

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.

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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