Coloradans for the Common Good Helps Comcast Close Digital Divide and Include Immigrants in Nationwide Program

In response to a series of engagements with CCG leaders seeking to bridge the digital divide for low-income families, internet giant Comcast moved to broaden access to high-speed internet, particularly for low-income and undocumented families.    Starting this summer, Comcast is adjusting the application for its free internet nationwide to better reflect the variety of identification forms accepted, and de-emphasize its initial request for a social security number.  Comcast also agreed to extend its offer of 60 days free internet for new subscribers through the end of the year.  These changes are being rolled out nationwide!

[Additional background from the Colorado Sun:]

In March, Comcast began offering [a] discounted service for free for 60 days to new families. The service usually costs $9.95 per month and caters to low-income households. Comcast also increased the service’s internet speed to 25 mbps and plans to continue making it free for 60 days to new eligible customers for the rest of 2020. The company is also offering free public Wi-Fi through the end of the year.

But the Internet Essentials program didn’t necessarily appeal to everyone who qualified. Coloradans for the Common Good this spring approached Comcast to ask the internet giant to modify its application, which asked for Social Security numbers even though other forms of identification were acceptable.

That deterred some immigrant families from attempting to enroll in the service. Coloradans for the Common Good — composed of churches, community organizations and teachers’ unions — reached out to lawmakers and Comcast’s corporate leaders pleading for change. After a series of email exchanges and Zoom meetings, Comcast adjusted its application nationwide to better reflect the variety of identification forms accepted. That change took effect in June, said Marilyn Winokur, co-chair of Coloradans for the Common Good.

“We want to get as many, many families that don’t have internet access to have the access that they need in order to participate in remote learning should it happen again,” Winokur said.

[Photo Credit:  Kathryn Scott, Special to The Colorado Sun]

Colorado Gears Up For Online Learning With Digital Access Push — And One Victory for Undocumented Families, Colorado Public Radio [pdf]

Online Classes Aren’t Going Anywhere, but Thousands of Colorado Students Still Don’t Have Internet Access, Colorado Sun [pdf]

Big Wins on Internet Access, Fair Wages for School Workers, Coloradans for the Common Good