Baltimore City Council members, students call for equity in digital divide

May 26, 2020

The Baltimore City Council is asking Comcast to extend their internet to financially vulnerable families.  The COVID-19 pandemic exposed learning and technological disparities among children and their families.  

The council and an advocacy group called SOMOS (Students Organizing a Multicultural Open Society) wants Comcast to offer free or significantly reduced priced internet to Baltimore City's low income citizens.  The company is giving new customers the first 30 days free.

The Baltimore City Council is asking Comcast to extend their internet to financially vulnerable families.  The COVID-19 pandemic exposed learning and technological disparities among children and their families.  The council and an advocacy group called SOMOS wants Comcast to offer free or significantly reduced priced internet to Baltimore City's low income citizens.  The company is giving new customers the first 30 days free.Baltimore City Council members Zeke Cohen, Shannon Sneed,  State Delegate Stephanie Smith attended the press conference and said they joined 100  organizations throughout Baltimore in calling on Comcast to do the following:  1. Expand their free internet essentials throughout the pandemic.2. Improve the speeds so that students can learn on Google Classrooms.3. Open up all public hot spots. "This is not just Baltimore's fight. City's and rural counties throughout our country are uniting together to demand better," said Cohen. " Now more than ever, we need to treat the internet like a public utility, not a luxury. Comcast can afford to do more.  Our children cannot afford to wait. In 2018, 40% of households in Baltimore lacked home wireline internet access. During the pandemic, if you can't get online you can't learn." On its website, Comcast says its "offering Internet Essentials free to new customers and eligible will receive 60 days of Internet Essentials service, the nation’s largest, most comprehensive internet adoption program for low-income households, without charge. And we’ve increased the speed of this internet service for all customers."