By KYW tech editor Ian Bush
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The digital divide is a very real thing in Philadelphia. Comcast says around 40 percent of city residents don’t have Internet in their homes, despite programs that dramatically cut the cost to gain web access and purchase a computer.
But next week, the cable giant and community groups are pushing to get more people plugged in.
Next Saturday at the School District of Philadelphia Building at 440 N. Broad St., there’s a free digital resources fair.
“We’ll have information about low-cost computers and free skills training on Internet basics and computer basics,” says Robert Smith, the regional vice president of community investment for Comcast.
Smith says kids who use the web at school know its value but are at a disadvantage when they can’t connect at home.
“It’s hard to convince the parents or guardians who don’t use the computer during the day, at home, at work, or in school,” he explains.
This event is designed to teach them just how critical the Internet is — and how easy and relatively inexpensive it is to get online (and buy computers) through programs like Comcast’s reduced-rate Internet Essentials.
“We have some real basic workshops for people who are really not familiar with using a computer and just want to get a start,” says Kate Rivera with Keyspot, the Urban Affairs Coalition’s access program. “We’ll also have some workshops for folks who are looking for jobs online or want to learn how to do that. Also, homework help tools, different educational tools that children can access, and we’ll also have activities for teens and youth — so it can be a real family day.”
It’s from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on April 27th in the Atrium at the School District Building. Register at 215-400-4180.