Spectrum launches affordable Internet initiative for low-income Louisville residents

05/25/2017 07:15 PM

LOUISVILLE – Spectrum announced Thursday that it will be offering reduced-price, high-speed Internet for low-income residents in Louisville.

The initiative, called Spectrum Internet Assist, will provide 30-megabit-per-second download speeds and 4 megabit-per-second upload speeds for $14.99 per month, including free modems and installation.

Jason Keller, Spectrum’s senior director of government affairs, said the program will be available for families with students in the National School Lunch Program or receive free or reduced lunch and residents 65 and older who get Supplemental Security Income.

The fact that high-speed Internet is available to some 90 percent of homes in Louisville but only 30 percent actually receive the service shows a “broadband adoption problem,” he said, adding that the company hopes to bridge the “digital divide.”

“It’s so important in this fast-paced environment to keep families and seniors connected, and as we rush through our days going to work and school, broadband accessibility allows the ability to video chat with our friends and family, grandparents interact with their grandchildren through social media, and kids to receive tutoring from the comfort of their home,” Keller said at the announcement, hosted by the New Legacy Reentry Corporation.

Thursday’s announcement included a panel who spoke about the need for affordable Internet for low-income residents in Louisville.

Panelists noted the importance of Internet availability in today’s technologically sophisticated society.

Chris Hamilton, who works as a cook at New Legacy, said on top of dealing with a felony conviction, he had to learn how to navigate the Internet in order to advance his career.

“It’s alright if you know how to cook, but can you do invoice?” Hamilton said. “You know how to do this, but can you get the other things that we need to be done? Can you order? So for me, I had to really tap in to get computer literate so I could do a lot of things that I need to do.”

Louisville Metro Council Member David James noted the recent closure of a Kroger store in his district, which left seniors without many options for their grocery needs. He said he was approached a few weeks ago and told that some grocers now provide online shopping, something that could help the elderly in his district.

“I thought, ‘Well, maybe if they were online,’ but that opportunity doesn’t present itself for us, and so for them, not having access to Internet means that they have a difficult time ordering prescriptions, they have a difficult time doing grocery shopping, they even have a difficult time communicating with their family members because many of them are alone where they live,” James said.

After the announcement, Keller and other Spectrum officials made a $2,500 donation to New Legacy, which helps felons transition back into society.

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