Comcast and Walgreens Announce Partnership to Address Digital Divide in Florida

by LP Green, II

Comcast today unveiled a new partnership with Walgreens that will extend the reach of its Internet Essentials program to nearly 300 Walgreens Pharmacy stores in South Florida. The announcement took place at a special event at the Overtown Youth Center (OYC) where Comcast was joined by OYC founder and former Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning to unveil details about the creation of the first digital learning zones in Florida, which will further the company’s goal of helping to bridge the digital divide by ensuring low-income students and their families have access to the Internet.

Comcast also announced it will include up to six months of complimentary Internet service for any eligible South Florida family, from Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties as well as those in Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties, who has not yet applied for Internet Essentials. Families who are approved for Internet Essentials between November 5, 2014 and December 31, 2014 will receive up to six months of Internet service for free.

Comcast Executive Vice President David L. Cohen made the announcements at the Overtown Youth Center (OYC) with Mourning, Walgreens Market Vice President Roy Ripak, Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho, elected officials and community partners.

“The partnership Miami-Dade County Public Schools has with Comcast and our communities is a very strong one. It provides us connectivity. It provides access to digital content in school and out of school, not only for our students, but for their families. Those that are not connected to the Internet at home are at a significant educational and economic disadvantage compared to those who are,” Carvalho said.

In joining together, Comcast and Walgreens are combining resources and outreach efforts to address two critical needs in the community: preventative health, which Walgreens champions, and bridging the digital divide, the ultimate goal of Internet Essentials. These are two major issues that significantly impact the well-being of the South Florida community.

“The concept of a healthy community means educating families about wellness, but it is much broader than that. It’s also about ensuring families have the technology they need to stay healthy and that is having broadband Internet service at home. With it, parents can research online where to get a flu shot or what doctor to visit, students can use it to do their homework, and families can communicate easier with loved ones across the country or around the world,” Cohen said.

Comcast Partnership with Walgreens

Among the elements of the new partnership between Comcast and Walgreens, Internet Essentials program materials will now be available to customers in nearly 300 Walgreens Pharmacy stores located throughout South Florida from Vero Beach to Key West. In addition, Walgreens is providing one year of free Internet Essentials service to 25 families served by the OYC.

“Our goal is to help people get, stay and live well. More and more information and resources concerning health and wellness are going digital, so this new partnership with Comcast ties back to our mission,” Ripak said. “Now thousands of South Florida families who are already visiting Walgreens locations will have the opportunity to learn about the Internet Essentials program and how it can potentially help them access the power of the Internet in their own homes.”

Internet Essentials from Comcast is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program. Since 2011, Internet Essentials has connected more than 350,000 families, or about 1.4 million low-income Americans, to the power of the Internet. This includes connecting nearly 50,000 Florida families or about 200,000 low-income Floridians.

Internet Essentials Digital Learning Zones

Funded through an Internet Essentials Gold Medal grant, the “Internet Essentials Digital Learning Zone” at the OYC will include upgrades to the center’s current computer lab with 50 new laptops, business VoIP, software and related equipment, along with much-needed digital literacy training for students and basic computer skills training for adults. Other new Digital Learning Zone sites being established by Comcast in South Florida will include ASPIRA of FloridaBoys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade and The Chapman Partnership.

“We are honored to house the first Comcast Internet Essentials Digital Learning Zone in Florida right here at the Overtown Youth Center and are appreciative of Comcast’s long history of supporting the Miami-Dade community,” Mourning said. “This new digital learning zone will allow us to address two critical needs for the students and families we serve – Internet access and the ability to provide digital literacy training and instruction.”

For more information or to sign up for the program, families can visit or call 1-855-846-8376, or, for Spanish, visit or call 1-855-765-6995.

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