Comcast is launching a major expansion of its acclaimed Internet Essentials program, and our Piquette Square for Veterans is where the announcement was made today. Internet Essentials is the largest and most comprehensive effort to close the digital divide for low-income Americans.
Among the dignitaries on hand for the announcement were Comcast executives, Mayor Mike Duggan, Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II, and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando, twin sisters who starred for the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team that captured Olympic gold last year.
Comcast launched Internet Essentials in 2011. The program has already connected more than eight million low-income individuals, from two million households, to the Internet at home, most for the first time in their lives. Internet Essentials provides low-cost broadband access (for $10 a month), affordable notebook computers ($150), and digital literacy training to eligible individuals. As part of the program expansion, Comcast plans to connect another two million low-income people to the Internet in the next year. Eventually, Comcast intends to expand the program to cover all low-income households in Comcast service areas across the country, said David Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at Comcast, in his remarks at Piquette Square.
In Detroit, which has one of the worst rates of Internet access of any big American city, more than 100,000 low-income residents have already been assisted by the program, and the announced expansion will connect significantly more. Internet access is essential to help families succeed and climb the economic ladder.
Cohen also emphasized that one-third of all low-income veterans don’t have access to the Internet, which disadvantages their reintegration into civilian life. A major focus of the Internet Essentials expansion is to assure that veterans have the digital technology and training that they need.
At the event, Comcast announced two major gifts to benefit those served by Southwest Solutions. First, Comcast, in partnership with Dell, provided a free Chromebook to each of the veterans at Piquette Square who came to the event. Piquette Square provides housing and support to 150 formerly homeless veterans. Second, Comcast is providing a grant to upgrade the Internet infrastructure at Piquette Square and for a mobile computer center to be used by others in the community and those served by other Southwest Solutions programs.
We thank Comcast for its incredible generosity and its extraordinary commitment to address the digital divide in our our community and across the country.
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