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Spirit of Detroit. Daily Detroit photo.

Comcast and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) partnered to create a new initiative that’s working on closing the digital gap in America.

Under the ConnectHome program, public housing and HUD-assisted residents living in Comcast’s service area are eligible to apply for Internet Essentials, the company’s high-speed internet adoption program for low-income families. An estimated two million HUD-assisted homes will now have access to low-cost internet service across the nation.

The program costs $9.95 a month upon approval, and includes a wi-fi enabled router.

Also, if a computer is needed, a low-cost computer is available for $149, with a payment plan available.

“ConnectHome is opening doors of opportunity for our next generation of Americans,” said HUD Secretary, Julián Castro. “Today’s announcement has the potential to transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of kids across the nation by giving them the tools to reach their full potential. We’re grateful to Comcast for joining the ConnectHome initiative, which has extended its reach to more than 1.5 million children in one short year.”

This is great news for Detroit, which ranked seventh out of the top 10 cities with the largest numbers of HUD-assisted households in Comcast’s service are. About 25,000 Detroit households will be eligible to receive this low-cost internet from Comcast.

About three out of four American households use broadband at home. However, that means that a quarter of the households in the U.S. don’t have access to the internet at home. In the city of Detroit, 39 percent of households have no internet access of any kind. This lack of access is particularly noticeable in low-income families with children.

According to the 2013 American Community Survey, about 43 percent of individuals without a high school diploma or equivalent lack home internet access. With the Internet Essentials program, adults and youth will have the opportunity to get a GED credential, apply for and complete college, and acquire the necessary digital literacy skills to thrive in a highly competitive, global workforce.

“This announcement reaffirms Comcast’s determination to make a meaningful impact to close the digital divide for low-income families in this country,” said David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast. “This is the single largest expansion of the Internet Essentials program in its history, and we’re thrilled to be working with HUD to help connect even more families, including seniors, veterans, and adults without children, to the transformative power of having internet service at home.”

Eligibility, however, is not limited to just HUD-assisted and public housing. This is an extension of an existing program, and there are multiple ways to qualify whether you are in the city of Detroit or not:

  • If you have at least one child who qualifies for the National School Lunch Program
  • You do not have outstanding debt to Comcast that is less than a year old. Families with outstanding debt more than one year old may still be eligible.
  • Live in an area where Comcast Internet Service is available but have not subscribed to it within the last 90 days.

To learn more about Internet Essentials, or to apply for it, visit internetessentials.com.