Comcast’s program that connects low-income residents with high-speed internet has reached a milestone.
The Internet Essentials program has connected more than six million low-income Americans to their service at $9.95 per month. Exact numbers for Bucks County were not released, but reporting shows that 200,000 Philadelphians take part in the program.
The program started seven years ago and sees 98 percent of program households using the high-speed internet connection for homework. Of the homes, 62 percent said they have used the program to aid in a job search.
The program works with school districts, libraries, government, and nonprofit partners, Comcast officials said.
The U.S. Census American Community Survey shows that 81 percent of American households have high-speed internet at home, but only 63 percent of households with an annual income of less than $35,000 have high-speed internet.
“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,” said Comcast Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer David Cohen.
In Bucks County, just under 9,000 children between the ages of 5 to 17 live below the poverty line. The countywide poverty rate is 6.6 percent, about half of the national average, according to Census data from 2016.
On Monday, Comcast announced the Internet Essentials program would extend eligibility to low-income veterans.
“We’re excited to extend that same opportunity to more than one million, low-income veterans. Veterans have stood up for our country; now it’s time for us to stand up for them by providing access to life-changing digital tools and resources,” Cohen said in a statement.