Keeping Philadelphia Online Even as Affordable Connectivity Program Ends

During the pandemic, the City of Philadelphia, along with a coalition of philanthropic and civic leaders, including Comcast, launched PHLConnectED to help connect low-income Philadelphia K-12 student households to free Internet at home. The collaboration helped ensure thousands of Philadelphia students in need had the ability to access connectivity at no cost.  

Ultimately, PHLConnectED enabled more than 23,000 Internet connections before transitioning families to take advantage of the federal government’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provided a voucher of up to $30/month to pay for Internet service. When the credit was applied to Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, online access was effectively free. Now, faced with the likelihood that ACP will run out of funding and come to an end, we want to assure all Philadelphia School District families that Comcast will still have options for low-cost Internet connectivity.  

Our commitment to bridging the digital divide began well before the pandemic – in 2011 with the launch of Internet Essentials. Individuals and families have a variety of choices: 

  • In May, as the federal government’s funding for ACP winds down, Comcast’s ACP customers will receive a $14 credit to help ease the transition.  
  • Starting April 16, Comcast’s NOW products will offer affordable, pre-paid Internet, mobile, and TV plans to any customer in our service area – including home internet plans starting at $30/month for 100 Mbps and NOW Mobile plans offering unlimited 5G and WiFi hotspot data for $25 per month. 
  • Every household that has been enrolled in the ACP – whether with Comcast or with any other provider – is eligible for Internet Essentials, offering 50 Mbps Internet service for $9.95 per month (equipment included, no credit check, no cancellation fee). 
  • ACP enrollees can choose to double their speed with Internet Essentials Plus, offering 100 Mbps service for $29.95 per month (equipment included, no credit check, no cancellation fee). 
  • Comcast will also offer Internet Essentials Plus customers one line of Xfinity Mobile at no additional cost for up to 12 months. 
  • Additionally, current customers enrolled in ACP with Comcast who add Xfinity Mobile can get an additional free unlimited line for one year, potentially saving them hundreds of dollars per year. 
  • We’ll also continue to offer unlimited access to the nation’s largest network of WiFi hotspots through WiFi Pass, for $10 for the first month and $20 per month thereafter. 
  • In addition to these options, individuals and families can leverage our 77 free, WiFi-connected Lift Zones. These can be found all across the city inside local community centers we’ve specially outfitted with business-grade WiFi to ensure families can get online. (We have more than 1,250 Lift Zones nationwide.) 

Finally, the robust Digital Navigator network in Philadelphia, which is supported by Comcast and PHLConnectED, will provide families with trusted, local experts from non-profits, including Beyond Literacy, Esperanza, The ExCITe Center at Drexel University, and SEAMAAC, who can provide digital skills training and digital access support. Digital Navigators help households procure free or low-cost Internet service and devices (like computers), as well as provide basic tech support, troubleshooting, and assistance using programs and apps. Philadelphia residents can get help from Digital Navigators by calling the United Way helpline at 2-1-1 from any phone. 

Advancing digital equity remains one of our company’s highest priorities and through Project UP, our $1B commitment to advance digital equity, our commitment to our hometown remains unwavering. We will continue to do our part and remain open to collaborating with other nonprofits, philanthropies, companies, and city government to help keep Philadelphians online no matter what challenges we may face so that together, we can help build a future of unlimited possibilities. 

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