City, Comcast Team Up To Bring Affordable Internet Access

CHICAGO (WBBM) — The City of Chicago and Comcast are teaming up in a pilot project to make broadband Internet access affordable for hundreds of thousands of low income families.

As WBBM Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, Comcast has agreed to give families that qualify for free lunches in the Chicago Public Schools broadband Internet service in their homes for about $10 per month.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

The usual price is nearly $50 per month.

Comcast executive vice president David Cohen says the cable company will also provide extensive computer training, and give the families of more than 300,000 children $150 vouchers to buy fully functional home computers.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel applauds the move.

“They’re going to use Chicago as a place to be the first of its kind to have a comprehensive approach to dealing with the digital divide,” he said.

The city’s figures show that on the North Side, an average of 80 to 90 percent of families have home computers and high-speed Internet access. But on the South and West sides, Cohen says only 15 percent of households have broadband.

“It’s just not fair that other communities in this city enjoy broadband adoption rates that are two and three and four times the broadband adoption rates in Washington Heights and Roseland,” Cohen said.

The city will be spreading the word about the program, and following up with the participating families.

  • Jim

    It just doesn’t pay to work hard and get “ahead” anymore. You could just rest on your laurels and get everything handed to you!

  • Legato

    I’m going to pay more attention to my monthly Comcast bill. If I get an increase, I will think about going to another internet/phone provider.
    There are so many poor children that have better clothing than I was growing up.(South Bronx). Look at how many of them have cellphones. What is the monthly bill for that?

  • yahuser

    I honestly don’t see how this is ethical. If the same internet access for which I pay is offered to others at a much reduced cost, then isn’t that discrimination? And as for Cohen’s comment regarding fairness of broadband access: Sir, we are the customer. If we are committing some sort of offensive behavior, I would be happy to switch to another provider. Not fair? You have got to be kidding?

  • What!?!

    Once again, the poor get something handed to them, while those of us who have worked hard to enable us to support ourselves get the short end of the proverbial stick. This is getting to be tiring. Now, poor kids all across Chicago will be able to watch YouTube videos just like everyone else. Unreal.

  • The Truth

    It’s not fair that Comcast will continue to charge customers who actually work hard for a living, pay their taxes, and pay their bills, to still be charging them $50/month (or likely more)…there is already free internet access at CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARIES…why does the nauseatingly liberal city government feel the need to provide free home internet?! Is it not a good idea to try to get the “disenfranchised” to sit in a library? Is it not a good idea to try to force people to get off their butts to “earn” the opportunity to have access to this technology? Guess who gets to subsidize the $40 difference?! Because you know Comcast gives nothing away for free…TAXPAYERS!! So, taxpayers, not only do you get to continue to pay $50/month, you also get to pay $40 more a month to make up the difference, in higher taxes!! Thanks Rahmbama!

  • Lisa Ladonski

    While I think this is commendable because I know how it is to not have money, I must say this is NOT the way to do this. What ever happened to going to the library for school work or to apply for jobs? I am lucky if I have enough money to pay my bills, but if I can’t afford something I don’t use it. I find a way around it. I think Comcast should give us ALL a break on internet if they’re doing it for one group.

  • For sure

    This isn’t some altruistic effort on Comcast’s part. This is part of the agreement to allow the Comcast NBC merger, so I wouldn’t go about patting Comcast or the city of Chicago on the back for this just yet.

  • Right

    This is another example of blacks and browns receiving special treatment on the back of taxpayers. Ninety percent of cps students receive free lunches and at least ninety percent of them are black or brown. I’m not surprised comcast is involved with this because they give special treatment in hiring for people from these neighborhoods, but they still don’t have to pay for their kids’ breakfasts or lunches Stop voting for liberals and get rid of your comcast service to protest this.

    • yahuser

      Nice generalization….you actually have NO idea who will be the recipient of this benevolence.

  • Red Grange

    What’s the big deal?? this is the same thing as subsidized utilities, assistance programs of various sorts, and free lunch programs. Get with the times: internet access is no longer a luxury. it is seen as an essential utility, just like power and gas. one could argue that having internet access can lead to opening up opportunities in education, increasing skillsets, and better jobs.

    • Right

      All those other programs are wrong as well. Someone still has to pay for it. Your attitude is why this city, state, and country are broke.

  • Red Grange

    And your attitude is why the “right” is wrong. Its attitudes like that that perpetuate poverty. Maybe that internet connection leads to a better job – then they have a chance not to be poor. Maybe that internet connection lets a student find out about scholarships, leading to a better future. With responsible corporate citizenship, costs can be kept minimal.

    And seriously, you want to argue that assistance programs are wrong?? You’d rather children go hungry, families go without heat and electricity, and for poverty to continue to perpetuate? What’s THAT going to cost in the long run?

    • yahuser

      You need to read the posts more thoroughly; I don’t believe anyone is promoting depriving children of necessities. Internet, however, is available in public libraries, where there is actually a librarian to help with resource access.
      Could you possibly be as surprised as it appears that some of us are tired of the current “assistance programs”? Time to revamp the system.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live