Decatur has discussed ways to extend broadband internet service to more residents and close the digital divide. The good news is that the resources we need to address these issues are already in place.
First, the network: Comcast has more than 800 miles of fiber-rich network infrastructure that can deliver residential download speeds of up to 1.2 Gigabits per second (Gbps) in Decatur — and up to 3 Gbps in many locations — and commercial download speeds of up to 100 Gbps. We also have over 18,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across the city.
Second, the programs: Our Internet Essentials program, which provides low-cost broadband Internet services to eligible low-income seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, social housing residents and students of all ages, has already served more than 1.3 million low-income connected Illinois residents have had the Internet since the program’s launch in 2011. In addition, Comcast recently opened a “Lift Zone” at Decatur’s Boys & Girls Club. Elevator zones are Wi-Fi-connected safe spaces where children can go online to do schoolwork and adults can go online to learn new digital skills, look for work and access government and other services.
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Third, the funding: The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) offers eligible households a credit of up to $30 per month toward the cost of their Internet and cell service. Comcast is proud to participate in ACP. In addition, the school district and library systems can apply to the federal Emergency Connectivity Fund for dollars to purchase computers and Internet services and provide them for free to eligible households in Decatur.
Ultimately, we don’t need complex solutions to extend broadband internet service or close the digital divide. The solutions are there. We just have to take advantage of them.
Regional Manager Government Affairs
and Community Relations, Comcast