Note: The information below does not include COVID-related steps or special programs taken by companies to connect students and others (evolving information).
The cable industry is committed to closing the digital divide by promoting the benefits of broadband, encouraging families to connect, and by offering programs that help families overcome barriers they may face.
Connecting kids at school, or helping them connect at home, is critical not just for their education now, but to prepare them for an increasingly technical and competitive U.S. economy.
Cable companies make low-cost internet available to low-income families with children who qualify for the National School Lunch program. Through this initiative, cable companies provide discounted Internet services, hardware, digital literacy training, and technology centers across the country to increase accessibility and help close the digital divide.
The cable industry nationally has invested more than $650 million in digital literacy training and awareness since 2011.
More than 2 million families in the U.S. have been connected through broadband adoption programs, as of 2019.
Among these programs:
Altice USA in September 2017 announced the expansion of its Economy Internet program to households that qualify for the National School Lunch Program and senior citizens who qualify for Supplemental Security Income in service areas covered by Suddenlink Communications. In addition, Altice USA works with hundreds of community centers and libraries to provide free broadband in computer labs and other public spaces, enabling residents with access to high-speed internet at no charge in their communities.
Sparklight launched Chromebooks for Kids in 2014 with the goal to improve education through the use of technology. The program has since donated 1,500 Chromebooks (as of September 2020) to Title 1 elementary schools in the company’s service areas that may otherwise have not had access to this technology.
Charter Spectrum Internet Assist, launched in November 2016, targets families with students who participate in the National School Lunch Program and seniors aged 65 and older who receive Supplemental Security Income program benefits.
Since 2011, Comcast’s Internet Essentials nationally has connected more than 8 million low-income Americans to the internet, as well as provided more than $700 million of support for digital literacy training, benefiting over 8.5 million people. In addition, the company has sold more than 135,000 free or affordable subsidized computers.
In partnership with dozens of local nonprofit organizations, Comcast also conducts Digital Connectors, a year-long course that provides digital literacy training to students three times per week at a local school, community center or other facility.
Learn more on the cable industry’s programs and successes in closing the digital divide.