Monday, September 16, 2013

Ward Room: Rahm, Comcast to Offer Internet Centers Near Some CPS Schools

While a great idea, why not provide this to more schools around the city not just the welcoming schools (this is referring to those schools who are taking in students from the schools that are closed).
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Comcast announced Monday that they will provide Internet facilities around some city schools for students in low-income families.

The city and Comcast, in partnership with the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, will provide “learning zones,” which will be centered around five Chicago Public Schools “welcoming” schools.

(Comcast is the parent company of NBC)

The centers that will be placed around Mayo Elementary in Bronzeville, Bass Elementary and Nicholson Elementary in Englewood and West Englewood, and Hughes Elementary and Johnson Elementary in North Lawndale.

Students in these schools will have access to computers and mobile devices, which will provide electronic access to textbooks and information.
To explain what's in parenthesis in the quote, Comcast in fact owns our local NBC affiliate NBC 5 and those owns the content of the Ward Room on the NBC Chicago website.

Anyway, here's more information on the Comcast Internet Essentials program assuming that your school doesn't have it yet. This is the third year for this program according to the article linked above.

I just to find some more information and found it from the Tribune:
Comcast partnered with United Way to set up the five local "learning zones," which will feature technology training programs and events, as well as enhanced Internet access in the schools and public Wi-Fi service at neighboring community organizations. The learning zones pilot is part of Comcast’s Internet Essentials, a nationwide program that provides discounted residential broadband Internet access to low-income households. Chicago is the only city in the U.S. testing out the learning zones, which are expected to be announced by Comcast and Mayor Rahm Emanuel at a Monday event.

"It's a pilot that’s being implemented in Chicago," said Bret Perkins, Comcast's vice president of external and government affairs. "We're watching it closely and if it works, we'll look at whether there are other places we can implement it."

Internet Essentials is in its third year and has more than 220,000 families signed up nationwide. More than 14,000 Chicago households are participating, up from 7,000 at this time last year. The 14,000 represent roughly 15 percent of eligible households, said Matt Summy, Comcast’s regional vice president of external and government affairs. Families qualify for Internet Essentials if their children are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches at CPS. The service provides high-speed residential broadband Internet for $9.95 a month, locked in for as long as the child remains in school and eligible. Comcast waives its activation and equipment rental fees and offers the option to purchase a computer for $150.
I look forward to knowing where this learning zones pilot program would be expanded.

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