For a decade now, Comcast's Internet Essentials program has been bringing affordable broadband connections to low-income Americans. On the occasion of the program's tenth anniversary, Comcast has released a progress report that looks back on the program's accomplishments in closing digital divides. The report coincides with Comcast's announcement that it will dedicate $1 billion to the Internet Essentials program's future efforts bring broadband to 50 million more Americans with limited financial resources.
According to its 10-Year Progress Report, the Internet Essentials program has invested $700 million and helped connect 100 million Americans to the Internet. Some 40% of the growth in broadband adoption in Comcast's service footprint among low-income households with school-age children can be attributed to the Internet essentials program. Comcast also has provided subsidized laptops to 130,000 people with low-income. The program offers the option to purchase a low-cost computer for under $150.
Since the program started, broadband Internet speeds have increased from 1.5 Mbps in 2011 to 50 Mbps in 2021 – with the discount service price holding constant at $9.95 per month.
Comcast's announcement that it will commit $1 billion to connecting low-income students, seniors, community centers, and non-profit organizations, including with WiFi technology, is terrific news. Many more low-income Americans surely will benefit from broadband Internet as a result of this significant private sector investment. Comcast deserves recognition for taking initiative and dedicating resources to bring more low-income Americans online. Here's to the next decade of the Internet Essentials program.