By Chris Kieffer
TUPELO – Tupelo’s Boys & Girls Club locations will add technology, thanks to a $25,000 grant from Comcast announced on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Comcast also will extend a program that provides discounted home Internet service for low-income families. Both announcements were made on Tuesday during a press conference at the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Haven Acres clubhouse.
The grant will provide desktop computers, laptop computers and laser printers for the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Northside and Haven Acres locations.
“It will allow us to improve what we have here,” said Zell Long, chief professional officer for Boys & Girls Clubs of North Mississippi.
More than 70 members attend the Haven Acres location each day, Long said, noting that it currently has about 20 computers. The plan is add 10 desktop computers at each clubhouse, plus an undetermined number of laptops.
“The more computers we have, the more they can come in and get access,” she said.
The three-year-old Internet Essentials program had been due to expire in June. It allows eligible families to get Internet access for $9.95 a month, plus tax, if they live in a Comcast service area, have a school-aged child who receives free- or reduced-price lunch, have not had Comcast Internet service for the previous 90 days and do not have any unpaid bills or unreturned equipment.
Participating families also would have an option to purchase a computer for less than $150 and opportunities to participate in a free digital literacy workshop.
“Internet Essentials is our effort to bridge the digital divide,” said Otha Brandon, director of government affairs for Comcast. “…We know access to Internet strengthens communities, and it also strengthens individuals. It gives them opportunities to have what other people have. It is a quality of life issue.”
In addition, Comcast will provide six months of free Internet for those families who enroll in the service between today and March 18. To qualify for that promotion, families must have a child enrolled in the Tupelo Public School System or other private schools in the city.