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Closing the internet gap

ADOLPE PIERRE-LOUIS/JOURNAL
Lew Wallace Elementary 5th grader Addysa Wolfe, right, reacts after finding out that she will be receiving a free laptop and internet service from Comcast NBC Universal on Thursday as part of an announcement of its expansion of its low cost internet service in the state.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Comcast thrilled about 100 Lew Wallace Elementary School students with free laptops and six months of internet service this week as part of its announcement to expand its low-cost Internet Essentials program in New Mexico.

“This expansion is the culmination of an audacious goal we set eight years ago … to meaningfully and significantly close the digital divide for low-income Americans,” said David L. Cohen, senior executive vice president and chief diversity officer of Comcast NBCUniversal, in a statement.

The company also announced $50,000 in grants to support local nonprofits Teeniors, Adelante Development Center and the West Central Community Development Group.

Comcast says it has doubled the number of eligible low-income households across the state, including households with people with disabilities and seniors.

To apply, applicants simply need to show they are participating in one of more than a dozen different government assistance programs. A full list can be found at www.internetessentials.com.

The program is a partnership between Comcast and tens of thousands of school districts, libraries, elected officials and nonprofit community agencies.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and City Council President Klarissa Peña joined Comcast executives for the announcement on Thursday at the Downtown school.

“If we’re going to close the internet gap, we need to tackle the barriers of access and affordability so everyone has the opportunities that the internet makes possible, like research for homework, looking for jobs and signing up for services,” Keller said in a statement.

ADOLPE PIERRE-LOUIS/JOURNAL
Comcast NBC Universal executive David Cohen hands out free laptops to Lew Wallace Elementary 5th graders on Thursday as part of an announcement of its expansion of its low cost internet service in the state.

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