In D.C., a leading provider of broadband service is expanding a program to help narrow the region’s digital divide.
Recent figures from Pew Research show that one in five adults in this country lacks access to the Internet. In D.C., the broadband adoption rate for neighborhoods such as Kenilworth in Northeast is no higher than 15 or 20 percent. In Georgetown, by comparison, it stands at nearly 90 percent.
This week, Comcast launched the third year of its Internet Essentials initiative at Neville Thomas Elementary School. Designed to close the gap between households with broadband service and those who can’t afford it, the program offers qualifying families broadband service for less than $10 a month, Internet-ready computers for less than $200 and digital literacy training.
Host and syndicated columnist Roland Martin helped coordinate the launch. “For the most part, you can’t even apply for a job unless you’re online. So our communities cannot afford to not be connected. Not only are we losing job opportunities, but educational opportunities as well. It is essential that programs like this take place," he said.
In two years the Internet Essentials program has connected 220,000 families to the Internet nationwide, including 5,000 in the Washington region.