Comcast offers low-cost broadband access to SHA residents
Comcast has added Springfield to its list of communities across the country where public housing residents are eligible for low-cost broadband access – and at $9.95 per month, that is an extremely low cost.
The offer to join the Internet Essentials program is open to all eligible Springfield Housing authority residents, as well as those who receive rental housing vouchers from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In total, that includes more than 5,000 residences who could take advantage of the program.
“Simply put, it’s a wonderful opportunity for our residents,” said SHA Executive Director William H. Abrashkin. “We’re looking for ways to increase resident opportunities to access the Internet at home, an important step today in reaching independence.”
Comcast announced the SHA welcome to program at a recent event that included a $1,000 grant to the Talk/Read/Succeed! family literacy program, and the raffle of a Dell laptop given to a seven-year-old girl at Sullivan Apartments. Participants also can purchase an Internet-ready computer for less than $150 and access digital literacy training sessions and materials online, in print, and in person.
“At Comcast we believe access to the Internet is a great equalizer and serves as a valuable resource for schoolwork, job searches, college applications and much more,” said Jessica Forrest, Government and Public Relations Specialist for the company.
“We are committed to playing a role in increasing access and are proud to offer Internet Essentials as a way to bridge the digital divide and provide internet at home to families that otherwise may not be able to afford it,” she said.
SHA welcomed the news, especially given that low-income people are known to have less broadband access, and that Springfield is among 28 communities nationwide that are part of the ConnectHome pilot program, authorized by HUD to step up broadband access among public housing receipients. The program is expected to be expanded in the future.
Residents are in the process of being notified about the Internet Essentials program, which fits neatly into the ConnectHome initiative. SHA is also undertaking a survey to get current data on how many residents have Internet and equipment to access the web at home.
SHA is working with Comcast to gather information on web access among residents, and to let them know the service is now available.
For its part, Comcast officials said the company look forward to working with SHA residents who may now lack broadband web access.
“We’re pleased to provide this grant to support the Talk/Read/Succeed program, and appreciate the Springfield Housing Authority’s help to get the word out about Internet Essentials, which has connected substantially more low-income families to the Internet than all other private sector programs combined,” said Daniel Glanville, Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs for Comcast’s Western New England Region, which includes Western Massachusetts.
“Now that the program is available to residents receiving HUD-housing assistance, even more households will be connected to a stronger future of opportunities that will help increase success from an academic standpoint and provide each family with new possibilities,” Glanville said.
Internet Essentials who wish to purchase a low-cost laptop can contact Comcast through its customer services for details.
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