May 31, 2011

Mayor Emanuel Announces Public-Private Partnership to Expand Internet Access for 330,000 Low-Income Chicago Students and Families

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Today Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the launch of Internet Essentials, a public-private partnership that will provide access to high-speed, reliable Internet service for the families of 330,000 students throughout Chicago.

"Having access to high-speed Internet service allows children to do schoolwork, adults to find jobs and grow the city’s economy, and families to learn and explore together," said Mayor Emanuel. "The Internet Essentials program is a perfect example of the city’s government and business community working together to craft innovative, competitive solutions to the important problems facing our citizens.”

The partnership between the City of Chicago and Comcast is the first of its kind in the nation.  It offers families of students who receive free lunches at the Chicago Public Schools access to broadband Internet at home at a reduced rate, making technology more accessible for families throughout the city.

Access is offered through the new Internet Essentials program, which allows their families to purchase broadband Internet service at $9.95/month. The program will not feature any installation or service fees. Additionally, families eligible for the program will also be able to purchase computers for $150.

Mayor Emanuel will be joined by David L. Cohen, executive vice president of Comcast, to announce the program, at Woodson Regional Library, in Chicago.

The partnership with Comcast is one element of a comprehensive plan to increase the availability of technology to the citizens of Chicago, which will include education and training as well as access to Internet services. Many of the city's libraries are participating in training and awareness programs, as well as business courses designed to promote technology resources to the citizens of Chicago.

The Internet Essentials program will launch this fall, in conjunction with the 2011-2012 school year.