Comcast’s Internet Essentials program assists low-income families

MORGANTOWN — Digitally speaking, 400 households in the Morgantown area just got a whole lot faster.

Make that, “have gotten a whole lot faster.”

That’s how many dwellings in the region to date now connected to high-speed internet service through Internet Essentials.

The program run by Comcast gives such access to low-income families nationwide.

More than 6 million families are now enjoying accessibility of the program that launched in 2011.

That includes 3,300 households across West Virginia, said Josephine Posti, a public relations manager with Comcast’s Pittsburgh offices.

Two hundred of the 400 hundred home connections in Morgantown were made last year alone, Posti’s office said.

Comcast released a nationwide report on the program’s progress last week.

Bridging the country’s digital divide is the aim of Internet Essentials, said David Cohen, the company’s senior executive vice president and chief diversity officer.

Who downloads the most reward from the service? Children and veterans, Cohen said.

“This program has had an enormous impact on millions of families and children who now have high-speed internet at home, many for the first time in their lives,” he said.

More than 1 million low-income military vets, Cohen said, now have fleet- connectivity to the country and world they helped defend.

“Veterans have stood up for our country,” he said.

“Now, it’s time for us to stand up to them by providing access to life-changing digital tools and resources.”

“Resources,” is the watchword for the program, educators and others say.

Nearly half of all adults in the U.S. with an income below $30,000 don’t have broadband or even a traditional computer at home, according to a study last year by the Pew Research Center.

That Digital Divide also exposes a “Homework Gap,” the research center further reports.

Right now, 5 million children don’t have access to high-speed internet in the U.S., the center said.

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