By Edward Cardenas

YPSILANTI (CBS Detroit) – A coalition of public, private and business groups and agencies will gather Wednesday to connect 25 low-income families to the Internet.

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Representatives from Comcast will be joined by U.S. Congressman John Dingell, The TDF Foundation, the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, and the Julius and Gertrude Powell Activity Center to provide the families with one year of free Internet service and a brand new Internet-ready laptop.

“Our missions are so similar that it was just an ideal partnership for us,” said TDF Foundation Director Linda Nickell, of joining with Comcast to provide broadband to low-income families. “Having broadband access will allow the entire family to be able to search the Internet for whatever information they may need.”

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The families are receiving the service through Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, which brings broadband to low-income households. The program is intended to help school-age families do research and homework, type book reports, e-mail teachers, enroll in online classes and tutoring, research and apply to colleges, do job searches and fill out job applications.

“By providing this service to these families, it gives them the opportunity not only for the child to do school work but also for the parent to maybe get some online training, maybe improve their job skills and conduct a job search, and find a job, and apply get hired,” said Fred Eaton, Comcast Heartland Region Senior Manager.

Eaton added that 98 percent of families use the Internet for school work, 65 percent use it for health care and government service, 64 percent use the service to pay bills and 58 percent use it for job searches.

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Households can enroll in the Internet Essentials program from Comcast if it has at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). The low-cost broadband service is available for $9.95 a month plus tax, the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for under $150, and multiple options to access free digital literacy training in print, online and in-person, according to Comcast. To learn more or to apply, call 1-855-8-INTERNET (1-855-846-8376) or visit InternetEssentials.com.