WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - July 15, 2016) - We are a better nation when business and government work together to solve national challenges. Today, as the result of a collaboration between HUD Secretary Julian Castro and Comcast, an estimated total of 2 million HUD-assisted households, including Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher, and Multifamily programs, will have access to Comcast Internet Essentials. In total, more than 40 percent of all HUD-assisted households nationwide will be able to connect to high-speed Internet service provided by Comcast for $9.95 per month with access to hardware and much needed digital literacy training.
Between August 2011 and December 2015, Internet Essentials connected more than 600,000 low-income families, benefitting more than 2.4 million Americans, to the internet at home. This is the largest expansion of the program to date -- it will help address connectivity for individuals without children in the National School Lunch Program as well as the elderly, as more than 32 percent of HUD-funded affordable housing residents have someone at least 62 years old living with them.
"For me, this is personal. In my home state of Texas, where I was raised in public housing, parents will see their children connect to the Internet at home for the first time to do their homework. More than 75 percent of the heads of households in HUD-funded affordable housing are women. Out of that, roughly 45 percent of heads of these households are African American and 24 percent are Hispanic. This is an important step forward for families that struggle to keep up in an increasingly digital world," said Javier Palomarez, President and CEO of The USHCC.
This announcement was made following a pilot program launched by Secretary Castro and Comcast Senior Executive Vice President David L. Cohen in March. Following successful trials in Miami-Dade County, Nashville, Philadelphia, and Seattle, now hundreds of thousands of families in states like California, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Michigan will be connected and be able to pursue education, employment, and healthcare online.
The work here is far from over - - but this is an important step forward to close the digital divide.