Chicago, Comcast offer low-income students subsidized computers, Internet

Low-income families in Chicago with children in the National School Lunch Program are eligible for subsidized computers and inexpensive Internet service under a new partnership between the city government and Comcast, Sarah Rich reports in Government Technology.

The program, the first of its kind in the United States, is named Internet Essentials. It will give the families of the 330,000 students who get free lunches in Chicago's public schools vouchers for subsidized computers for $149.99 plus tax, high-speed Internet access for $9.95 per month plus tax, and Internet training, the article continued.

The program is scheduled to begin this fall during the 2011-2012 school year, and Comcast plans to make it available nationwide in its Internet service area — which has communities in 39 states and Washington, D.C, according to a Comcast spokesman, Rich reported.

Chicago families will first have a three-year open registration period to sign up. Families that maintain eligibility can participate in the program until the student graduates from high school, said Tom Alexander, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's assistant press secretary, the article continued, adding that families can stay in the program for up to 13 years.

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