Nearly 450 Charleston area families have enrolled in the low-cost Internet Essentials program offered by Comcast, but some 9,000 families are eligible, officials said Friday.
The program offers residential broadband Internet service for $9.95 per month with no price increases or equipment rental fees and a voucher to purchase a low-cost computer for $149.
A household is eligible to participate if it lives where Comcast offers Internet service, has at least one child who is eligible to receive a free or reduced school lunch, has not subscribed to Comcast Internet service in the last 90 days and does not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment.
Comcast will sign up eligible families at least three years through the end of the 2013-2014 school year.
“It is imperative in today’s digital age that every one of our citizens has full access to all opportunities that the Internet has to offer,” said state Sen. Paul Campbell, R-Goose Creek. “One of the keys to economic recovery is ensuring that our local workforce is properly trained in modern technologies.”
Those in attendance at a press conference to promote year two of the program included state Rep. David Mack, D-North Charleston, Federal Communications Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and Comcast Executive Vice-President David Cohen.
Comcast is partnering with the Charleston Digital Corridor to offer the service.
In the first full year of the initiative, Comcast has connected with 100,000 families nationally. About 30 percent of Americans are without Internet, the company said.