FCC chairman Julius Genachowski applauded Comcast's expanded commitment to broadband adoption among low-income American families, calling digital literacy key to promoting the U.S.'s global competitiveness in the long run.
Comcast on Tuesday provided a progress report on the Internet Essentials program, announcing that it had connected 41,000 qualifying low-income households to $9.95-per-month broadband since launching the initiative in August 2011. To increase uptake in 2012, the operator will expand eligibility requirements for the program, as well as double connection speeds -- to up to 3 Megabits per second downstream -- and step up digital literacy efforts.
"I commend Comcast for their strengthened commitment to broadband adoption," Genachowski said in a statement. "Having more Americans who are digitally empowered will mean more students able to access the benefits of digital learning, more Americans with the skills needed to find and land the jobs of today and tomorrow, and millions more customers for online businesses."
Continued Genachowski, "Broadband is key to America's long-term global competitiveness. Unfortunately, too many Americans are falling on the wrong side of the digital divide, excluded from the $8 trillion global Internet economy. The FCC remains committed to working with all stakeholders to meet this pressing national challenge."
Last September, Genachowski also gave kudos to the MSO for the Internet Essentials program, calling on other service providers to take similar steps.
In November, the cable industry announced the Connect to Compete broadband-adoption initiative, led by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, which will provide discounted broadband starting with the 2012 school year.