Washington D.C.- Comcast has announced the Internet Essentials Initiative, a bi-lingual program designed to bring low-cost internet, affordable computers and internet training to low-income families. Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association agrees with the Hispanic institute that this initiativeâ€™s design addresses several fundamental causes for the persistent digital divide and concludes that it is good for Hispanic families.
While recent research has found that Hispanic consumers are the most aggressive adopters of wireless phones, a persistent gap remains between white and Hispanic America in the use of home computers. Foreign-born Hispanics lag much further; only 51% of them under the age of sixteen go online, while 85% of native-born young Hispanics do. Language barriers are often cited as the biggest factor keeping the foreign-born off line, but economic factors also place many Hispanics, especially Hispanic children, at a disadvantage in the burgeoning digital society.
â€œFor years now, LISTA has been asking companies to step up and think creatively about closing the digital divide I applaud Comcast for their visionary stance on closing the digital divide,â€ said Jose A Marquez Leon, National CEO of Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association, through this program Comcast and the organizations who join in this effort will make great strides in leveling the playing field for many Latino students and family.
Internet Essentials makes low-cost computers and service available to any family with children in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Hispanics comprise 34â€™% of the children in NSLP, therefore large numbers of working-class Hispanic families will gain access to home internet. Moreover, the programsâ€™ bi-lingual and on-line training features aim to overcome the language barriers keeping so many Hispanics young and old off-line.
We applaud the Internet Essentials initiative – www.internetessentials.com and hope that more major internet providers will adopt its key features, to further decrease the Hispanic digital divide.