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.