Comcast and the Masonic Angels have partnered for over eight years to provide affordable Internet access for many recipients of Laptops for KidZ devices.
Laptops for KidZ (LFK) placed the Comcast Chromebooks with five students at Barnstable Intermediate School (BIS). BIS has received 65 laptops and Chromebooks from the Laptops for KidZ project in the past two years.
BIS school counselor Amy Manfredi told Cape Cod Today that the devices are an essential learning tool for students at her school. Laptops are placed with students who would not otherwise have access to a computer outside school hours. With much of students' homework being completed online today, students without a home computer are at a competitive disadvantage. Laptops for KidZ helps level the playing field for those students.
Many students who receive Laptops for KidZ devices qualify for Comcast's Internet Essentials $9.95/month broadband access service. Comcast recently broadened the eligibility requirements for the IE program, opening the door to many more Cape Cod families to qualify for the affordable service.
“The Masonic Angel Foundation on Cape Cod has been a partner of Internet Essentials since its inception in 2011,” said Rebecca Fracassa, Director of Community Impact for Comcast’s Greater Boston Region. We hope that these five laptops not only assist students with their homework, but help parents and caregivers look for and apply for new jobs, keep in touch with friends and family and better connect with their community.”
The Internet Essentials program is growing nicely. Comcast's Marc Goodman tells CCToday, "The expansion is the most significant change in the program’s history and the Company estimates that nearly three million additional low-income households, including households with people with disabilities, are now eligible to apply. This number includes nearly 576,000 residents across the state of Massachusetts, which is ranked 13th in the nation in terms of overall participation."
"In addition, the company announced that, since August 2011, Internet Essentials has connected more than eight million low-income individuals, from two million households, to the Internet at home, most for the first time in their lives, including nearly 216,000 here in Massachusetts. Today’s announcement follows 11 prior eligibility expansions, including last year’s extension of the program to low-income veterans. To be eligible to apply to the program, low-income applicants simply need to show they are participating in one of more than a dozen different federal assistance programs. A full list can be found at www.internetessentials.com."
Laptops for KidZ accepts donations of Windows laptops and Chromebooks which are refurbished by their team of volunteer technicians. Windows machines receive a fresh Windows 10 Professional license which the Masonic Angel Foundation receives as a non-profit member of the Microsoft Registered Refubisher Program. Completed machines are placed with area schools to be sent home with children who need access to a computer outside school hours. Many recipients qualify for the Comcast Internet Essentials Service. The Masonic Angels never learn the identity of the children who receive their computers.
There is no cost to the school or recipient family for a Laptops for KidZ device. Costs of refurbishing are paid by local Masonic Angel Fund chapters in the towns where the recipients live.
Laptops for KidZ has placed approximately 2,500 volunteer-refurbished computers across Cape Cod and Southeastern Massachusetts.