Internet Essentials, Comcast’s High-Speed Internet Program for Low-Income Families, to Be Extended to Community College Students in Illinois

Pilot Program Will Help more than 90,000 Illinois Community College
Students Cross the Digital Divide

Chicago Still #1 in the Country in Internet Essentials Enrollment,
Connecting Nearly 120,000 Low-Income Residents to High-Speed Internet
Service at Home

announced a pilot program today that will extend Internet
, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive high-speed
Internet adoption program for low-income families, to more than 90,000
low-income community college students who are Federal Pell Grant
recipients in Illinois.

According to the National
Center for Education Statistics
, community colleges enroll as many
as 40 percent of all college students each year. As low-cost,
open-access institutions, community colleges serve a high percentage of
non-traditional students, including those who are low-income, are
financially independent, have dependents, are first generation, and are

“For millions of Americans, community college is one of the most
accessible paths to a post-secondary education and a brighter future,”
said David L. Cohen, Comcast Corporation Senior Executive Vice President
and Chief Diversity Officer. “By offering an affordable Internet
connection and computer, Internet Essentials will enable low-income
community college students to access educational resources not just at
school but also at home. In addition, Internet Essentials will link
these students to crucial digital literacy training programs that will
help them as they complete their studies and continue to have a positive
impact after graduation. Students need support at every level of their
education, and extending Internet Essentials to community college
students highlights our commitment to providing them the support they
need, whether in elementary, middle, or high school or pursuing
post-secondary education.”

According to research,
an associate degree increases the chance of being employed by 12 to 15
percent for men and 20 percent for women. In addition, according to the Community
College Resource Center
, an associate degree increases average
earnings compared to a high school diploma by 13 percent for men and 21
percent for women. In 2012, the American
Association of Community Colleges
estimated community college
graduates added $809 billion in income to the U.S. economy in higher
wages, increased productivity, and multiplier effects. Additionally,
according to an Illinois Community College Board report,
completing a community college program increases lifetime earnings by
44%, or over $570,000, compared to those who do not complete a program.

“In Chicago, we are closing the digital divide to open more doors of
opportunity for our students to get an education and for our residents
to get a good paying job. Internet Essentials is an important part of
that effort,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “I want to thank Comcast
for extending Internet Essentials to ensure that more of our community
college students have high speed Internet access. By putting
21st century technology in hands of more City College students, we will
help them succeed in their careers and keep Chicago’s economy growing.”

Since its inception in 2011, Internet Essentials has been available to
eligible primary and secondary school students and their families. In
Chicago, more than 30,000 households have been connected to the
Internet, benefitting 120,000 residents, which is more than in any other
city in the country. More than 55,000 families in the Chicago metro area
and 65,000 families across the state of Illinois have been connected.
Nationally, Internet Essentials has connected more than 500,000
households, giving 2 million low-income Americans access to the power of
the Internet in their homes.

The Illinois community college pilot will expand on the work Comcast has
done in Chicago and Illinois to enroll eligible families in the program.
Since its inception in 2011, Comcast has worked with more than 2,000
school districts and community- and faith-based organizations, ranging
from Chicago Public Schools, Big Brother Big Sisters, Boys & Girls
Clubs, Centro Romero, to the Chicago Urban League and the United Way,
all in an effort to spread the word to families with school-aged
children that could benefit from the program.

“The Internet helps Illinois community colleges deliver coursework and
support and communicate with students,” said Dr. Karen Hunter Anderson,
executive director of the Illinois Community College Board. “Having
technology on-site and Internet service at home removes barriers to
online learning, giving students greater access to the schools, the
faculty, and a host of additional resources that are crucial for their

Comcast also announced a similar community college pilot in the state of
Colorado today. Low-income community college students in Illinois and
Colorado must be recipients of Federal
Pell Grants
, the nation’s largest need-based grant program, in order
to qualify for Internet Essentials. According to the most recent data on
community colleges from the Department of Education’s National Center
for Education Statistics (NCES), nearly 40 percent of students attending
two-year community colleges receive Federal Pell Grants—the nation’s
largest need-based grant program. In Illinois, an estimated 90,000
community college students attending schools within Comcast’s service
area receive Pell Grants, and would be eligible to apply for Internet

, Comcast doubled Internet Essentials’ download speed to up to
10 Mbps, which is the third time in four years the speed of Internet
Essentials service has been increased at no additional charge to
customers. Comcast also announced that it is offering program
participants free Wi-Fi routers that will allow them to connect any
Internet-enabled device, such as a tablet, laptop or smartphone, to
their home service.

About Internet Essentials

from Comcast is the nation’s largest and most
comprehensive high-speed Internet adoption program. It provides low-cost
high-speed Internet service for $9.95 a month plus tax; the option to
purchase an Internet-ready computer for under $150; and multiple options
to access free digital literacy training in print, online and in-person.
Eligible families must have at least one child eligible to participate
in the National School Lunch Program, including public, parochial,
private, charter, and homeschooled students. For more information or to
apply for the program, visit
or call 1-855-846-8376, or for Spanish, call 1-855-765-6995.

About Comcast Corporation

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is a global media and
technology company with two primary businesses, Comcast Cable and
NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is one of the nation’s largest video,
high-speed Internet and phone providers to residential customers under
the XFINITY brand and also provides these services to businesses.
NBCUniversal operates news, entertainment and sports cable networks, the
NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations,
television station groups, Universal Pictures and Universal Parks and
Resorts. Visit
for more information.

With nearly 7,000 local employees, Comcast’s Greater Chicago Region (
serves customers in central and northern Illinois, including the Chicago
area, northwest Indiana and southwest Michigan. “Like” Comcast’s Greater
Chicago Region on Facebook by visiting Comcast
of Illinois, NW Indiana and SW Michigan
. “Follow” Comcast’s Greater
Chicago Region on Twitter at @ComcastIllinois.


Jack Segal, 773-304-8243
Vallejo, 309-236-4898