Internet available to needy families in Delaware

Low-income families in Delaware will soon have the chance to obtain low-cost Internet service and computers.

Comcast Corp., the country’s largest cable TV company, is bringing its Internet Essentials program to Delaware this fall. Delaware Governor Jack Markell joined Comcast officials at the Police Athletic League of Wilmington Thursday for the announcement.

“Access to the Internet is important for Delaware parents looking for jobs or researching the best options for their families,” Markell said. “Young people who enter the work world already computer literate have a head start in this digital economy.”

The nationwide program is aimed at getting more American families online. It offers Internet service for $9.95 a month, vouchers to buy low-cost computers, and digital literacy training to families with children who qualify for free school lunches.

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Comcast Corporation Executive Vice President David Cohen says the program helps level the playing field for low-income families, “by connecting students online with their teachers and their schools’ educational resources and by enabling parents to receive digital literacy training so they can do things like apply for jobs online or use the Internet to learn more about health care and government services available where they live.”

The program, which could reach at least 2.5 million households, was proposed by Comcast as it sought Federal Communications Commission approval of its takeover of NBC Universal. The commission subsequently mandated the program as a condition of its approval of the deal earlier this year.

Eligible households must be located where Comcast offers Internet service; must have at least one child eligible to receive a free school lunch; have not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days; and do not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment.

Comcast will sign up eligible families in the program for at least three years and through the end of the 2013-2014 school year. Parents looking to enroll in the program can call 1-855-846-8376.

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