Comcast is expanding the eligibility for its Internet Essentials broadband adoption program to include families with children eligible to receive reduced priced school lunches. This will make nearly 300,000 additional households in its service area eligible and raise the total to 2.3 million eligible families.
This summer Comcast launched Internet Essentials, a comprehensive broadband adoption program that offers discounted Internet service, affordable computers and digital literacy training to families with children who are eligible to receive free lunches under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), to help bridge the digital divide and ensure more Americans benefit from all the Internet has to offer. The Internet Essentials program addresses three primary barriers to broadband adoption that research has identified: 1) a lack of understanding of how the Internet is relevant and useful, 2) the cost of a home computer, and 3) the cost of the Internet service. Internet Essentials provides low-cost broadband service to eligible families for $9.95 a month, the option to purchase a full-service, Internet ready computer for less than $150 and multiple options for digital literacy training in print, online and in person.
Earlier this week, Comcast released an Internet Essentials launch progress report that highlights the program’s achievements, shares the lessons learns and details the enhancements it will make to the program in the next year. Since the launch, Comcast has connected more than 41,000 families to Internet Essentials, distributed 5,500 computers, and offered 300 in-person digital literacy training sessions. It publicized the program across more than 4,000 school districts and 30,000 schools and worked with more than 3,000 partners to spread the word about Internet Essentials.
In addition to expanding the eligibility to its Internet Essentials program, Comcast is making five other enhancements to its efforts in the next year. It will double the broadband connection speed provided with Internet Essentials, enable community-based organization partners to purchase Internet Essentials in bulk to help reach more eligible households, streamline the approval process by providing instant approval for all students who attend schools with the highest percentage of NSLP participation, and expand and enrich its online and in-person digital literacy training efforts. Finally, Comcast will work closely with the Connect to Compete initiative to try to reduce computer costs further, enrich its digital literacy materials, promote awareness of the importance of broadband adoption and work to connect to broadband to those families who call about Internet Essentials but live outside of Comcast service areas.
Looking for some good ideas? ACC has just posted the three-page project summaries from the 2011 Beacon Award finalists in the members-only section of the ACC Web site joining the summaries from the 2001 – 2010 Beacon Award finalists. These project summaries are the core of each Beacon Award entry and detail the planning, implementation and results of successful cable communications and public affairs campaigns. These 546 summaries also are good models to use when preparing your own initiative or 2012 Beacon Award entry.
You must be logged into the members-only area to access these summaries, and you can log in through the member log in box in the left-hand corner of this screen. Your username is generally your work email address, and the password is your last name all in lowercase letters. If you are not currently a member, use ACC’s trial membership and join free for your first six months.
MTV and Logo are joining forces with Dan Savage, co-creator of the It Gets Better Project, for an hour-long special focusing on the emotional and societal struggles facing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth (LGBT). "It Gets Better" will premiere on both networks on Tuesday, February 21, at 11 p.m. ET/PT. The special takes viewers inside the personal struggles of three young people coming to terms with their sexual orientation.
Savage and his husband, Terry Miller, founded the It Gets Better Project in the fall of 2010 in response to the increasing number of suicides among teenagers who were being bullied by their peers, often because they were LGBT or suspected to be. In keeping with the mission of the project, the special will feature video messages of support from Maroon 5's Adam Levine, Zachary Quinto, Margaret Cho, Chaz Bono, "Jersey Shore" star Vinny Guadagnino and Scissor Sisters frontman Jake Shears.
The It Gets Better Project kicked off with Savage and Miller's YouTube video reminding young people facing harassment that while things are tough now, they will improve, and that the couple themselves were living proof. Soon after, young adults began posting similar videos, detailing their own struggles with bullying and reaffirming the message for LGBT youth everywhere that, yes, it does indeed get better. Just over a year later, the project has inspired more than 30,000 user-created videos viewed more than 40 million times.
Are you interested in connecting with fellow cable communicators? ACC needs volunteers for our FORUM 2012 and 2012 Beacon Award Committees. Get involved and help mold ACC programs to meet the needs of cable communicators.
FORUM Committee Members will help determine the agenda and promote FORUM 2012 to the industry. Beacon Award volunteers manage the complete entry process from promotion to judging to the Beacon Awards Gala. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact ACC by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org (FORUM), email@example.com (Beacon), or calling 800-210-3396.
Cable’s Diversity on Demand Initiative is bringing more multicultural programming just a click away from digital cable customers and provides an online forum where people can learn more about and share their passion for multicultural programming. Diversity On Demand kicked off February 1 focusing on Black History Month and concludes following Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept 15-Oct. 15). It is an expansion of cable’s on-going support of and commitment to multicultural programming. With the advent of advanced digital cable platforms like On Demand, viewers can learn more about African-American history at their convenience during Black History Month.
Individuals, who “like” cable’s Diversity on Demand at www.facebook.com/DiversityOnDemand will see Black History programming updates and links to trailers and be alerted to various entertainment and blogger giveaways during the promotion. This will be an online destination where anyone interested in multicultural shows and movies can join to engage with others in the community, and learn more about what Diversity on Demand has to offer. Cable will celebrate multicultural programming throughout the year with contests, polls, trivia, trailers and more.
Time Warner Cable once again sponsored the Groundhog Day Ceremony, held yesterday at the Staten Island Zoo where Staten Island Chuck predicted an early spring. Designated by Mayor Michael Bloomberg as New York City’s official meteorologist, Chuck will visit several local schools and institutions where students will learn about the origin of groundhogs and the modern science of meteorology.
Time Warner Cable is also sponsoring Chuck’s home and weather station exhibit located at the Staten Island Zoo’s Children’s Center. The exhibit consists of a custom built log cabin with retractable roof and solar panels that power a functioning weather station. Part of the company’s Connect a Million Minds initiative, this sponsorship helps to give local students a hands-on opportunity to learn more about science with Staten Island Chuck.
The free ceremony drew notable public figures including Mayor Bloomberg, Deputy Borough President Edward Burke, Assemblyman Matthew Titone, Assemblyman Michael Cusick and Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs Kate Levin. Staten Island’s PS 22 chorus gave a rousing performance at the ceremony which was emceed by Staten Island Advance Editor, Brian Laline. Time Warner Cable kept the crowd warm by handing out handwarmers, noisemakers, and hot beverages. For more information, contact Karen LaCava at 212-379-5158 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on how your organization can join ACC as a 2012 corporate member, please contact Steve Jones at email@example.com or 202-222-2373. For membership details, go to http://www.cablecommunicators.org/cmember.php.
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