We are currently in the digital age, however there is still a huge gap between those who have access to internet and those who don’t.
At last count, 39% of households in Detroit do not have internet of any kind. And if you don’t have internet and know how to use it, you don’t have a shot at moving up in the modern world.
Comcast’s Internet Essentials has been providing low-income households the opportunity to sign up for internet for $9.95 a month. It’s found a measure of success compared to other cities in Detroit. The city is eighth in the country for adoption of this service, with 13,000 low-income households being signed up for the service.
Today rolled out some enhancements to the existing program.
Comcast is currently running a five city pilot program that offers this reduced cost internet to low-income senior citizens. They will be expanding the pilot program to twelve cities, and Detroit is one of them.
The other cities include Boston, Miami, Palm Beach, Florida, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Jose, California, and Seattle. There are three more cities to be announced this year.
The company will be increasing the speed of internet service up to 15 Mbps down, 2 Mbps up. This is the fourth time in six years that they have increased the speed. This enhancement will improve streaming quality in the home, especially if you have multiple devices connected to the internet at once.
Additionally, customers will have 40 hours of free WiFi outside of their home through the 18 million Xfinity Wifi hotspots.
During the announcement Comcast also gave away 100 laptops and six months of free internet to the seniors who were present.
Having access is one thing. But then you need to know how to use it. To that end, Comcast is also investing in two Detroit non-profits to help provide education and training.
“Now with the extension to low-income seniors it goes even further. This is an important part of the strategy, and you’re going to see the city continue as well,” said Duggan at the event today. “I love the $35,000 contribution that comcast is doing to upgrade the internet access at this rec center. We’re going to do more WiFi connections, we just did it to the Rosa Parks Transit Center. We’re going to be doing it to rec centers across the city and we’re going to create more locations where people who can’t afford to have internet access at home will be able to go to public locations.”
Comcast will be upgrading the Technology Corridor at the Joseph Walk Williams Community Center, where today’s announcement was held. This upgrade will include new computers, smart boards, and other equipment. There will also offer digital literacy training classes for people at the community center.
The YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit will also be receiving money that will help with digital literacy training for 6,000 youth. Comcast will also be sponsoring a computer lab at the Boll Family YMCA.
If you are interested in signing up for Internet Essentials the requirements are as follows:
To enroll you must be 62 or older, receive federal or state assistance, and live in Detroit; or be a family in Michigan where Comcast service is available with at least one school-age child who is eligible for the free and reduced lunch program; or receive federal Housing and Urban Development assistance in Michigan where Comcast has service.
The service is $9.95 a month. You can also purchase an internet ready computer for $150.
You can sign up for the program here.