Comcast gave away free computers this week to every family at Prescott Elementary School, which is located at 920 Campbell St. in West Oakland.
Before the give-a-way, Comcast’s Chief of Diversity and Senior Vice President David L. Cohen introduced the company’s Internet Essentials program, which is working to end the digital divide.
Created to help bridge the division between families who have access to today’s technology tools and those who do not, Internet Essentials provides affordable high-speed Internet service to families for less than $10 per month.
Cohen, addressing a standing room only crowd, said, “The question of the day is, why is Internet Essentials important to you? The answer is, that it’s important because a third of all Americans don’t have access to the Internet to do their homework.”
“We are opening our program to give Internet access to all people who are living in HUD housing, who have Section 8,” he said. “We have connected 4,000 in the Oakland community, and 40,000 more are eligible for the program. We’re working with non-profits to bring the internet to every household.”
Four-time world champion and six-time Olympic medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee is the national spokeswoman for Comcast’s Internet Essentials Program and has established a non-profit and similar program in her hometown of East St. Louis.
“The underserved are always overlooked, but the Internet Essentials program is bridging that gap,” she said. “If you give the world the best you have, the best will come back to you, and we’re here to enable students to look ahead and prepare rather than look back and regret.”
Superintendent Antwan Wilson said, “The cradle-to-college support we’ve instituted throughout the district is predicated on all students having access to the Internet. Our mission is to offer wrap around support for our students so that every students experiences joy in academic success as they are placed in a position to be successful.”
Darius Atkins, an 11th grader from Oakland High School says having access to the Internet gives him the ability to fulfill his dreams. “Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be Mayor of Oakland.”
Darius received a free laptop computer and one year of free Internet.