Comcast announced Tuesday it is expanding eligibility for its Internet Essentials broadband adoption program to include all qualified low-income households in Washington state.
The program has already given 34,000 people in King County discounted internet access, including approximately 7,200 people in Lynnwood, and 1,600 people in Mountlake Terrace and Edmonds.
Comcast said the expansion is the most significant change in the program’s history, and the company estimates that more than three million additional low-income households are now eligible to apply nationwide. In Washington state, Comcast estimates the expansion will increase the availability of Internet Essentials to 208,000 totals households and 832,000 residents.
“We’ve connected more people with economic hardships to high-speed broadband internet than any other provider in this region,” said Terry Davis, Senior Director of Government Affairs & Internet Essentials Program Leader, Comcast Washington. “With this new widely expanded eligibility, we can provide every individual and family living where we operate with access to the internet and other technology resources, regardless of their income.”
To be eligible to apply to the program, low-income applicants simply need to show they are participating in one of more of a dozen different federal assistance programs. These include: Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). A full list of these programs can be found at www.internetessentials.com.
The company already accepts applications from households that have a student eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program, live in public housing or receive HUD Housing Assistance, including Section 8 vouchers, or participate in the Veterans Pension Program, as well as low-income seniors and community college students in select pilot markets.
According to U.S. Census data, households living in cities with the highest poverty rates are up to 10 times more likely than those in higher earning communities not to have fixed broadband at home.
The Internet Essentials program includes multiple options to access free digital literacy training in print, online and in person; the option to purchase an internet-ready computer for less than $150; and low-cost, high-speed Internet service for $9.95 a month plus tax. The program is structured as a partnership between Comcast and tens of thousands of school districts, libraries, elected officials, and nonprofit community partners.
For more information, or to apply for the program in seven different languages, visit www.internetessentials.com or call 1-855-846-8376. Spanish-only speakers can also call 1-855-765-6995.