Comcast is expanding its Internet education and low-cost broadband initiative to encompass resources from the non-profit education website Khan Academy.
Under a multi-year, multi-million dollar deal, the strategic partnership will bring Khan's free digital education materials (covering everything from beginner computer programming to chemistry, history and finance) will be available to those who sign up for Comcast's broadband adoption program.
Launched back in 2011, Internet Essentials is a program designed to bring Internet to low-income families who Comcast describes as "on the wrong side of the digital divide."
During an event held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. on Monday, Comcast Corporation executive vice president David Cohen pointed toward a "symbiotic" relationship between Khan Academy resources and Internet Essentials.
With its personalized learning experience including over 5,000 educational videos and 100,000 practice problems, it is the ultimate "solution" to the relevance/value conundrum. Internet access can enable kids do better in school and become better prepared for 21st century jobs.So the marriage is perfect – Khan Academy content will help drive broadband adoption; the increased adoption will help get Khan Academy content where it can do incredible good.
Khan Academy founder and executive director Salman Khan further predicted that "this could be an opportunity for us to do something to reach the nearly 30 percent of Americans who don’t have broadband Internet service at home."
Internet Essentials broadband service starts at $9.95 a month plus tax, with the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for under $150.
Within the first full year of availability, nearly 100,000 families -- or 400,000 Americans -- gained access to the Internet at home with the Internet Essentials.
In Chicago alone last summer, Comcast started working with more than 1,100 community-based organizations, school districts, faith-based organizations, elected officials to provide digital literacy training and educate community members about the Internet Essentials initiative.
To increase awareness about Internet Essentials (and the "digital divide" overall), the Comcast-Khan Academy partnership also entails the production of digital promotion worldwide in both English and Spanish -- including "hundreds of thousands of PSAs" -- over the next few years.