Photo: Jeaneth Panero and her son, Diego, can now access the internet thanks to a new partnership among AHC Inc., Capital One, and Comcast designed to bridge the digital divide.
July 22, 2020
AHC Inc., a nonprofit organization that develops and operates affordable apartments in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region, today announced a new partnership with Capital One and Comcast to provide free, high-speed internet access to low-income families who live in affordable housing communities.
The initiative leverages Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, which offers low-cost internet service at $9.95 per month, to eligible low-income households. Thanks to a grant from Capital One, households that qualify for Internet Essentials will receive free internet service for 14 months from the date of signup – giving students and families much-needed access to online learning and other resources. To ensure families have the tools they need to maximize the service, Capital One also is donating new Chromebooks to participating residents.
The pilot, called the Capital One Digital Access (CODA) program, kicked off this week at St. James Plaza, an AHC Inc. property with 93 affordable apartments in Alexandria, VA.
“This program is a lifesaver for our residents who are impacted by the digital divide,” said Walter D. Webdale, AHC Inc. President and CEO. “We are deeply grateful to Capital One and Comcast for creating this partnership to help our families, students and senior citizens access the technology they need to stay connected to their jobs, schools, healthcare providers and loved ones. Internet access has become an integral part of our world today – and the pandemic has highlighted the need for collaborative solutions to address the digital divide and bring affordable high-speed internet to all.”
Residents are thrilled to have the stability of the 14-month program and deeply appreciate the brand-new Chromebooks that make the experience complete. “This program is going to be a big help – I’m so happy,” said Jeaneth Romero, who lives at St. James Plaza with her seven-year-old son, Diego. “I was worried about my son going back to school because he only had my cell phone to use. The laptop will make it a lot easier for him to do schoolwork and so many other things online.”
Capital One created CODA to help bridge the digital divide for individuals and families who live in affordable housing communities financed by Capital One. The program, which provides a mix of free internet access, Chromebooks or tablets, and digital education, is currently being piloted in 11 properties across the country. St. James Plaza is one of the first to get underway.
“Without digital access, trying to find a job, complete training programs, do homework, apply for services or benefits or take advantage of telehealth services is incredibly difficult,” said Jamillah Lamb, a Director on Capital One’s Community Finance team spearheading the efforts. “And we know that a lack of access means that low-income families are being disproportionately left behind in the new economy. CODA is intended to be one important component to closing the digital divide and providing a more level playing field.”
Since 2011, Internet Essentials has connected millions of low-income families to the internet. The program, which offers low-cost, high-speed internet service, also provides multiple options to access free digital skills training in print, online and in person. In addition, customers have the option to purchase a low-cost internet-ready computer.
“We are excited to partner with AHC Inc. to help bridge the digital divide in Virginia by ensuring that children and families at St. James Plaza can connect to the internet through our Internet Essentials program,” said Kevin Broadhurst, Comcast Vice President of Government Affairs. “For almost a decade, Comcast has made a significant impact on the digital divide by helping to level the playing field for families in need so they can benefit from all the internet has to offer. In keeping with our commitment, we recently extended our 60-day offer of free internet service to all eligible, new Internet Essentials customers through the end of the year.”
To date, more than 30 St. James Plaza families have registered for the pilot program and more sign-ups are underway. A family can qualify for Internet Essentials from Comcast if:
They are eligible for public assistance programs such as the National School Lunch Program, Housing Assistance including Arlington County’s Committed Affordable Unit (CAF), Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, VA Assistance and TANF.
They live in an area where Comcast’s internet service is available.
They haven’t subscribed to Comcast’s internet service in the last 90 days. However, families who are currently Internet Essentials customers or have recently subscribed also are eligible to receive APS-sponsored financial assistance through this jointly funded grant program.
If a family was not previously approved for Internet Essentials by Comcast, they should apply again. Eligibility requirements have been expanded in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Due to the coronavirus emergency, households with outstanding debt owed to Comcast may be eligible for Internet Essentials. This qualification is being waived if applicants are approved by Dec. 31, 2020.
Founded in 1975, AHC Inc. is a nonprofit developer of affordable housing that provides quality homes and education programs for low- and moderate-income families. Based in Arlington, VA, AHC has developed more than 7,500 apartment units in 50+ properties in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 3,000 children, teens, adults and seniors each year through on-site education and social service programs and activities. For more information, visit ahcinc.org.
About Capital One
Capital One Financial Corporation (www.capitalone.com) is a financial holding company whose subsidiaries, which include Capital One, N.A., and Capital One Bank (USA), N.A., had $269.7 billion in deposits and $396.9 billion in total assets as of March 31, 2020. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Capital One offers a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients through a variety of channels. Capital One, N.A., has branches located primarily in New York, Louisiana, Texas, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey and the District of Columbia. A Fortune 500 company, Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “COF” and is included in the S&P 100 index.
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company with three primary businesses: Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal, and Sky. Comcast Cable is one of the United States’ largest video, high-speed internet, and phone providers to residential customers under the Xfinity brand, and also provides these services to businesses. It also provides wireless and security and automation services to residential customers under the Xfinity brand. NBCUniversal is global and operates news, entertainment and sports cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations, television station groups, Universal Pictures, and Universal Parks and Resorts. Sky is one of Europe’s leading media and entertainment companies, connecting customers to a broad range of video content through its pay television services. It also provides communications services, including residential high-speed internet, phone, and wireless services. Sky operates the Sky News broadcast network and sports and entertainment networks, produces original content, and has exclusive content rights. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.
Jennifer K. Smith, Director of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org/ 703-486‑0626 x1118
Carl Gaines, Capital One, email@example.com
Kristie Fox, Comcast, 267-858-6373, firstname.lastname@example.org