There are local families who may not be able to read this online article, but Jim Weigert, general manager of Comcast Chattanooga, said he hopes that anyone who does read this will pass information to people who might benefit.
The news is that Comcast is offering low-cost Internet access and computers to area families in need in an effort to help Hamilton County students.
The program, called Internet Essentials, is in its third year and offers Internet service for a monthly fee of $9.95 plus tax to families that have at least one child in the National School Free Lunch Program.
"[This program represents] our commitment to help conquer the digital divide," Weigert said. "If you don't have access to the Internet, you're at a big disadvantage."
Participants can also buy a computer for $150 and get access to free digital literacy training and software security.
So far, nearly 220,000 families have signed up for the program nationwide. It's helped about 880,000 low-income Americans get Internet access.
Locally, Hamilton County has nearly 80 schools and about 42,000 students, he said. About 24,000 of those qualify for the reduced lunch program, Weigert said.
"The national school lunch program helps feed kids' bodies, and we think Internet Essentials feeds their minds," he said.
Weigert said that when leaders started looking at the number of people who have Internet access they found that many families don't have in-home access. They may be able to get online at work or at a library, but many students need access at home to do schoolwork, he said.
And beyond homework that requires online research, Weigert—who has three school-aged children—said that teachers in Hamilton County use the Internet to post grades and communicate with parents.
"A lot of textbooks are versioning online," he also said.
Comcast leaders are working to address the three main reasons people said they don't have at-home Internet access—cost, digital literacy and relevancy (meaning people don't see how getting online can benefit them).
Eligible users must also live where Comcast offers Internet service and must not have subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the past 90 days. To participate, customers also can't have overdue Comcast bills or unreturned equipment.
In 2009, Comcast merged with NBC Universal.
As part of the conditions of the merger, Comcast leaders pledged to offer low-cost Internet service.
There has been some criticism about whether leaders have done enough to promote the low-cost service.
Some have challenged the idea that the Internet Essentials Program is a good-will initiative because of its ties to the merger.
But Weigert said that even before the merger Comcast made efforts to offer low-cost services through a program called The Adoption Plus (A+).
Click here to read about that.
Weigert said that the program never got off the ground but that the effort was there before the merger.
"Regardless of how it fits into the requirement of the merger, there is no other national program that is this ambition, this wide-scale and making this much of a difference," he said.
Click here to read a Bloomberg article that explains the merger.
Updated @ 1:21 p.m. on 9/7/13 to add more information as it became available.
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