The Internet Essentials program from Comcast was created in 2011 to provide low-cost broadband service for low-income families with school-aged children. In 2016, Comcast expanded Internet Essentials to seniors in five pilot markets across the country, and engaged OATS as a partner to evaluate the pilot and create a national rollout strategy for the program.
Provide a comprehensive research-based evaluation of the pilot program while supporting community partners in pilot markets and developing a national rollout strategy for the Internet Essentials for seniors program.
OATS compiled a comprehensive research overview for Comcast’s leadership about seniors and broadband adoption in the U.S.A., evaluated community partner sites and strategies in different pilot markets, conducted focus groups and surveys of seniors related to broadband adoption and the connection to training and devices, and evaluated enrollment and messaging strategies used for the Internet Essentials senior pilot. OATS also provided ongoing support to Comcast’s community partners engaged in the pilot by licensing OATS’s curriculum, conducting capacity-building sessions for staff and stakeholders, and advising on successful strategies for messaging, training, and enrollment in each community.
As Comcast expands its Internet Essentials to all HUD-assisted households in their footprint, the rollout strategy is being updated to incorporate the over 600,000 additional seniors who would be automatically eligible for the Internet Essentials program through this initiative.