Comcast helps low-income families weave their worldwide web

Comcast helps low-income families weave their worldwide web

SPENCER TAFT, Staff Writer

Let’s face it: the world has changed over the last decade. With the advent of the internet, it is becoming easier and easier to research, communicate and learn faster than ever before.

The internet has become a staple in the lives of millions of people.  According to, there were two and a half billion users as of 2013, with sixty percent of them using it most frequently for research.

Therefore, there is a very real  threat in our modern world of being left in the dust due to lack of technology, as the world transitions into the future.

The city of Gloucester is teaming up with Comcast to help make that transition a little easier for low-income families. Through their Internet Essentials program,  Comcast is willing to provide eligible families with a computer for $150 and internet connection for $9.95 per month.

The catch is that this does not cover wireless internet (WiFi) which must be paid separately. In order to be eligible, a family must meet all these criteria.

  1. You must be located in an area of Comcast service (which Gloucester is within)
  2. There must be a child eligible for free or reduced lunch in the family.
  3. You must not have been subscribed to Comcast internet within the last 90 days.
  4. You cannot have outstanding debt to Comcast that is less than one year old.

Comcast has also partnered with the city government, to provide reduced price internet for libraries and schools in applicable areas, including Gloucester High School.

With the purchase of the reduced price computer and internet, the Internet Essentials program also provides free classes – either in a classroom, by phone or online – on how to use a computer.

“Everybody needs [Internet] skills,” said GHS technology integration specialist Mark Kelsey.  “Not just kids.”

Kelsey said that the internet is too useful to pass up for any student.  “The goal is to give everyone access to jobs, research, collaboration in classes through Google Docs,” said Kelsey.  “O’Maley school has given the eighth grader’s Chromebooks, so that helps with that as well.”

Despite this, it may seem strange to give students Chromebooks, then offering a service to give them internet, and not providing them with wireless internet. Given that most models of Chromebook, including the ones given to the eighth graders, cannot connect to wired internet.

Kelsey is also confident that students will use their new resource properly, in the face of criticisms that many students use the internet as little more than a distraction.

“More kids need the internet for learning than ever before,” he said. “It’s not just for video games.”

If you believe that your family may be eligible for Internet Essentials, call 1-855-846-8376 to apply, or go to