The Nashua Telegraph reported Thursday that New Hampshire will be among the first states to join the new Comcast Internet Essentials program.
The Comcast offering will provide discounted Internet packages to residents who qualify for the National School Lunch Program and other government assistance programs. Comcast hopes to enroll 2.5 million families during the program’s initial launch and millions more overall.
Internet Essentials will supply low income households with high-speed Internet access for less than $10 per month. It will also sell computers to enrollees for less than $150 and provide digital literacy training.
“Clearly, being connected to the Internet is not only important, but vital,” Manchester, N.H. Mayor Ted Gatsas told the Telegraph. “The power of broadband provides access to educational resources for kids and job opportunities for parents.”
This program is not America’s first step into digi-welfare. Government programs spent more than $1 billion in 2009 and 2010 providing cell phones and wireless plans to low-income Americans.
Comcast will be signing up families for the program through the 2013–2014 school year; eligible families will remain in the program until all of their children have graduated from high school.