XFINITY to Provide Free Computers, Training & Reduced Cost Broadband Service to Low Income Families with Students

Washington, DC - September 20, 2011

At the beginning of this year, XFINITY a corporate commitment to make broadband service available to millions of kids in low-income families. On September 20, 2011, the company launched its program, Internet Essentials, at a national unveiling in Washington D.C. The program is aimed at providing high-speed Internet service to millions of school children who currently do not have broadband access because they cannot afford it.

The Mayor of Washington D.C., Vincent Gray, addressed the audience gathered for the announcement. In his remarks he stated: "Broadband is transforming the way we educate our young people. We need to help more of our students and their families who may not be able to afford internet access. I applaud XFINITY for helping to close the digital divide through the Internet Essentials program which will bring affordable broadband and free computers to tens of thousands of families and students in the District of Columbia."

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, also present, told the audience: "I'm pleased to be here today at the national launch of the new XFINITY Internet Essentials - a program that aims to provide high-speed Internet to millions of school-age children whose families have not adopted broadband. The program will prepare the next generation, create new opportunities for more jobs and will make a positive difference in the lives of many Americans. I challenge other service providers to take concrete steps to help close the broadband adoption gap."

As particulars about the program were revealed, the qualification process appears rather simple. To qualify for the program, a family must live in an area where XFINITY offers internet service and have at least one child who is eligible to receive a free school lunch under the National School Lunch Program. In addition, they cannot have subscribed to XFINITY Internet Service within the past 90 days, nor may they have an outstanding XFINITY balance due or unreturned equipment.

For those families who meet the qualifications, here is what the Internet Essentials Program will provide to them:

  • A voucher to purchase a low-cost computer for $149.99 + tax
  • Access to free digital literacy training in print, online and in person
  • Residential Internet service for $9.95 a month + applicable taxes
  • No price increases, no activation fees, or equipment rental fees
  • Free Norton™ Security Suite ($160 value) for online security

The initial program will run for three years, through the end of the 2013-2014 school year. During this period any household can qualify and remain eligible as long as they have a child qualified to receive a free lunch under the NSLP.

XFINITY continues to develop working relationships with an expanding network of both school districts and community organizations. To date, ten million multi-language informational pieces have been distributed. More than 1,000 school districts, representing over 4.5 million eligible students, have agreed to participate. In addition, over one thousand community organizations have agreed to dispense information about the program. Also, more than 60 live training sessions have been scheduled during the month of September. These classes will utilize teachers that XFINITY has trained during more than 30 special train-the trainer sessions over the last two months.

Will the program work? Well, during this past August, XFINITY did a warm-up to the national program by introducing Internet Essentials to select cities. These cities included Miami, Dover, Fresno, Philadelphia, Portland and Atlanta. Leaders in all of these areas unanimously applaud XFINITY for their community spirit and their generous contribution to bridging the digital divide!