By Tim Jimenez
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The cable giant Comcast Corp. is harder trying to get the word out about its one-year-old “Internet Essentials” program, designed to bridge the “digital divide” that keeps poor families from acess to the Internet.
If your child gets free or reduced-price school lunches, you may qualify for Comcast’s Internet service at a price of just $9.95 per month, plus tax.
Today, at Constitution High School in center city Philadelphia, Comcast executive VP David Cohen stood next to a map of the city as he highlighted the gap they want to close.
“Look at center city Philadelphia,” he said. “They have a broadband deployment rate of 60 to 80 percent, 80 to 100 percent (in some sections). If you go to Fairmount, you’re in the 40 to 60 percent area. And then you get to Fairhill, and you’re in 0 to 20 percent.”
Mayor Nutter and other city officials are calling it a civil rights issue, and Phialdelphia schools superintendent Dr. William Hite said access for all in the information age is critical.
“If families do not have opportunities for that kind of information, there is more difficulty in breaking the cycles of poverty,” he said.
So far, more than 3,000 low-income area families are online because of the program, according to Comcast.
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