Comcast's David Cohen and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel visited
a city library there Tuesday as part of the ceremonial kick-off of the Internet
Essentials program, part of Comcast's pledge to the FCC in order to secure its
joint venture with NBCU.
The nation's largest cable operators promised to provide
low-cost Internet access and subsidized computer equipment to homes with
children who qualified for the National School Lunch Program. Eligible
households can start signing up this summer for the program, which launches
with the 2011-2012 school year at the end of August or beginning of September,
depending on the school district.
The program provides XFINITY economy service for $9.95
per month with no activation or rental charges, a computer for $149/99 plus
taxes if applicable, and digital literacy training.
"The Internet Essentials program is a perfect
example of the city's government and business community working together to
craft innovative, competitive solutions to the important problems facing our
citizens," said Emanuel in announcing the launch, according to a Comcast
blog posting on the event.
Chicago is the site of the National Cable &
Telecommunications Association's annual convention in two weeks, where Emanuel
is slated to appear.
Cohen pointed out Tuesday that studies show that every
percentage point increase in broadband adoption translates to between 1,000 and
3,000 new jobs.