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Pittsburgh Housing, Comcast Partner on Internet Access

The Hous­ing Au­thor­ity of Pitts­burgh and Com­cast have an­nounced they have part­nered to pro­vide 1,500 fam­i­lies liv­ing in low-in­come res­i­dences with a year of free high-speed In­ter­net ser­vice.

by Andrew Goldstein, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette / August 19, 2020

(TNS) — The Hous­ing Au­thor­ity of the City of Pitts­burgh and Com­cast on Tues­day an­nounced they have part­nered to pro­vide 1,500 fam­i­lies liv­ing in low-in­come res­i­dences with a year of free high-speed in­ter­net ser­vice.

Of those fam­i­lies re­ceiv­ing in­ter­net ser­vice, 1,000 have a Pitts­burgh Pub­lic Schools stu­dent learn­ing at home, ac­cord­ing to Com­cast.

“In­ter­net ac­cess be­came more im­por­tant than ever when ev­ery­one tran­si­tioned to work­ing and learn­ing from home,” U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-For­est Hills, said in a state­ment. “Com­cast’s In­ter­net Es­sen­tials part­ner­ship with HACP, funded by the CARES Act, helps to close the dig­i­tal di­vide for Pitts­burgh fam­i­lies who need In­ter­net ac­cess in or­der to be suc­cess­ful in school and work.”

Amid the COVID-19 pan­demic, Com­cast has of­fered low-in­come fam­i­lies two months of free in­ter­net ser­vice through its In­ter­net Es­sen­tials pro­gram. The hous­ing au­thor­ity pur­chased an­other 10 months of ser­vice, add­ing up to 12 months to­tal for its el­i­gi­ble res­i­dents.

The hous­ing au­thor­ity said it will have a sys­tem in place by the end of 2020 en­sur­ing that all of its res­i­dents have in­ter­net ac­cess.

Representatives from the housing authority will contact eligible families over the next several weeks to connect them to Internet Essentials. Eligibility criteria includes eligibility for public assistance programs and residence within a Comcast coverage area.

The housing authority in May announced a $275,000 donation to the Pittsburgh Public Schools to provide the capital to purchase laptops and internet access for students living in the authority’s residences. The donation was made in an effort to bridge the digital divide that plagues low-income communities. 

Devices and internet service have become crucial to education as schools across the country are preparing to start the year in an at least partially virtual model. The Pittsburgh Public Schools will hold at least the first nine weeks of classes online.

“The first step in this process was to make sure our students were connected to their remote learning platforms,” Caster D. Binion, executive director of the housing authority, said in a statement. “Next, we’ll be working to connect senior citizens, disabled individuals, job seekers and anyone in between with suitable, home internet service.”

©2020 the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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