ASL Now is a first for the cable industry and it is only fitting that Comcast is leading the way by offering this technology. Comcast has spent the last eight years working to close the digital divide through their Internet Essentials program.

Since 2011 Internet Essentials has  connected over 8 million low income Americans to the Internet, and this year Comcast made the largest eligibility expansion to the program to include all qualified low-income households, including people with disabilities. Comcast is addressing the digital divide for American’s with disabilities by ensuring the deaf community can connect to the internet at home without barriers.

Between the Internet Essentials expansion and ASL Now, Comcast is giving the deaf community the tools they need to change their quality of life. According to a recent survey, 23% of people with disabilities say they never go online and over 50% say they do not have broadband internet at home.

On the landing page, direct links to the new ASL Now chat function can be found, as well as the ability to order collateral materials in Braille and large print, and an accessibility-specific FAQ. Also, customers can find over 50 internet safety and digital literacy videos with closed captions for the deaf in the Learning Center.

In the Learning Center, topics such as online safety and security, basic uses of the Internet, and how to get various things done online can be found. Comcast has partnered with the American Association of People with Disabilities to add more digital literacy training content specifically designed for people with disabilities.

The digital inclusion rally concluded at the PA School for the Deaf with Comcast surprising 90 students with tablets and six months of complimentary internet service through the Internet Essentials program. Watching their shocked faces turn to absolute excitement was something I will always remember and it was truly something so wonderful to be apart of!