(Photo by Mike Casey)By Matt Rocheleau, Town Correspondent
Northeastern University student volunteers will help teach low-income Boston families how to get online and navigate the Internet, officials announced Tuesday.
Through Internet Essentials, a national program run by Comcast, low-income families can qualify for broadband Internet service at a reduced rate of $9.95 per month, plus tax, along with the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for under $150 and access to free digital literacy training.
Northeastern and Comcast announced a new partnership Tuesday morning for student volunteers from the university to help run digital literacy training in Boston.
New England Patriots Hall of Famer and former wide receiver Troy Brown joined state and local officials, teachers, administrators, Comcast representatives and nearly 200 students from Boston Public Schools for a ceremony on the university’s campus to announce the partnership.
“Having affordable broadband access and computers in the home is such a game-changer for so many low-income families who would otherwise lag behind,” said a statement from City Councilor-At-Large-elect Michael Flaherty.
Comcast and Northeastern also announced that through their partnership, the cable provider will run public service announcements about its offerings to low-income families throughout most of New England.
“The combination of neighborhood-based training sessions implemented by university volunteers coupled with public service announcements on our advanced fiber network is a model for corporate-academic collaboration,” said a statement from Steve Hackley, senior vice president of Comcast’s Greater Boston region. “We look forward to watching this partnership develop and produce great results as both institutions are focused on working together to help close the digital divide.”
The event Tuesday also celebrated the launch of the third year of the Internet Essentials program, which has put a broadband connection in the homes of more than 1 million low-income people, or 250,000 families, nationwide, Comcast officials said.
A household is eligible to for the reduced-cost broadband service if it has at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program, is located where Comcast offers Internet service, has not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days, and does not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment, officials said.