Comcast Helping Colorado Close The ‘Digital Divide’

By Kathy Walsh

DENVER (CBS4) – An effort is underway in Colorado to close the so-called digital divide.

Comcast is expanding its eligibility for low-cost internet to include any Coloradan receiving housing assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The company is also improving access in low-income communities in other ways.

“It’s a big deal,” said Steven Pride.

Steven Pride using the internet (credit: CBS)

Steven Pride using the internet (credit: CBS)

He’s delighted that he now can use better computers and faster internet. He’s lived in the low-income Westridge Homes in Denver for 18 years. Pride can’t afford a computer, so the technology hub at the Denver Housing Authority Mulroy Opportunity Center across the street connects his neighborhood to the world.

“When you go to get a job, it’s all on the computer, so it makes it easier for people to do that,” said Pride.

Steven Pride using the internet (credit: CBS)

Steven Pride using the internet (credit: CBS)

The technology hub is one of five in Denver Housing Authority communities being upgraded thanks to a $100,000 grant from Comcast. And that’s not all.

“We expanded eligibility,” explained David Cohen, Comcast Senior Executive Vice President.

At a news conference that included Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Cohen explained that Comcast’s Internet Essentials program brings affordable, high-speed internet to low-income families. The program was recently expanded to include anyone receiving housing assistance from HUD.

“We increased the eligible pool by two million families nationally and by 50,000 in the state of Colorado, including 17,000 in the city of Denver,” said Cohen.

David Cohen, Comcast Senior Executive Vice President (credit: CBS)

David Cohen, Comcast Senior Executive Vice President (credit: CBS)

Six-time Olympic Medalist Jackie Joyner- Kersee is the national spokesperson for the program.

“What Internet Essentials means to me is giving our people access to have the opportunity so you can be in the race,” said Joyner-Kersee.

Joyner-Kersee is dedicated to bridging the digital divide. She worries without providing access, we could leave a whole generation behind.

Jackie Joyner- Kersee with Mayor Michael Hancocck (credit: CBS)

Jackie Joyner- Kersee with Mayor Michael Hancocck (credit: CBS)

Through the Internet Essentials program, high-speed internet from Comcast is $9.95 a month. A computer purchased through the program costs $149.99.

LINK: Internet Essentials

Kathy Walsh is CBS4’s Weekend Anchor and Health Specialist. She has been with CBS4 for more than 30 years. She is always open to story ideas. Follow Kathy on Twitter @WalshCBS4.

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