Comcast Offers Digital Tool to Help Low-Income Families Succeed

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Senior Vice President of Operations for Comcast Filemon Lopez, in town August 15 to announce year two of Internet Essentials, discusses the vital tool to stay ahead of the game and succeed.

Can you imagine a week without internet? Too terrifying for you? How about going without it for one day? No way to catch up on global events or to connect with family members across countries, or even conduct research for school. The internet has become such an imperative daily tool that nearly 2.3 billion people around the world rely on it, a significant surge in number from the 400 million users 12 years ago. There are even school districts across the United States en route to digitize all textbooks by the year 2015. “We are now in a time where having access to internet truly is a way to stay ahead, to stay competitive, and be successful,” said Filemon Lopez, senior vice president of Operations for Comcast.

However, it is hard to fathom that in a time where internet is just a mouse click away, nearly 30 percent of American households deal without. According to Lopez, costs present a huge barrier for most families, which is exactly why one year ago Comcast launched Internet Essentials, a broadband adoption program that addresses the primary needs of Comcast customers.

“We believe it’s an incredible program to really help bridge the digital divide,” said Lopez, who returned to Chicago on August 15 along with Comcast Executive Vice President David L. Cohen, to join Mayor Rahm Emanuel in announcing year two of Internet Essentials during a press conference at one of UNO’s charter schools. “Companies, organizations, and schools are converting to an internet basis program. If you don’t have it then you are really on the wrong side of the digital divide.”

Comcast’s Internet Essentials program aims to augment understanding of how the internet is useful, to eliminate the high cost of owning a computer, and ease the cost of internet service. Participants receive an internet service of $9.95 a month, plus applicable taxes, no price increases, no activation fees, or equipment rental fees, offers participants an option to purchase a low-cost computer, and access to free digital literacy training in print, online, or in-person. “People think there is a catch to this program and the truth is there isn’t,” said Lopez. “We firmly believe in the importance of contributing and giving back to the community. Comcast does not have an ulterior motive. We genuinely want to see people succeed and take advantage of this great program.”

According to Lopez, in the program’s first full year of availability, nearly 100,000 families, or 400,000 Americans, gained access to the Internet at home. Nearly 7,000 families signed onto the program in Chicago alone. “Nationwide we are working with about 30,000 schools, which is great. We hope to connect 2.3 million people to the program in the coming year or so,” said Lopez. “This program makes a statement that we all need to take leadership in the future of our country and the future of our children. We need to give them every opportunity to succeed.”

A household is eligible to participate in Internet Essentials if it meets all of the following criteria:

  • Is located where Comcast offers internet service;
  • Has at least one child eligible to receive either a free or reduced school lunch under the National School Lunch Program;
  • Has not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days, and;
  • Does not have an overdue Comcast bill or any unreturned equipment.

“We really wanted to make sure we reached out to individuals who were in dire need of this type of program. And in so doing we have also partnered with several community-based organizations not only in Chicago, but across the nation to make sure we were promoting this program through grassroots levels,” said Lopez.

For general information about Internet Essentials, visit, for English. Or visit, for Spanish. For educators or community-based programs interested in learning more about Internet Essentials, should visit, For parents looking to enroll in the program, call 855-846-8376 or, for Spanish, call 855-765-6995.


Comments are closed.