July 17, 2015 |
Thousands of low-income families in Philadelphia and Camden will receive free or reduced-cost Internet service under a pilot program announced Wednesday by the White House. Philadelphia and Camden are two of 27 U.S. cities - as well as one tribal nation in Oklahoma - selected for the ConnectHome program, which will provide high-speed broadband Internet in more than 275,000 households, and improve online access for almost 200,000 children, according to the White House. ConnectHome is aimed at closing the "homework gap" between students who can use the Internet at home and their less affluent peers.
April 29, 2015 |
The collapse of Comcast's megamerger with Time Warner Cable disappointed company executives and a host of hometown politicians who rooted for the deal. The trouble for Comcast starts with how many fans it can count among those who get its services but not its campaign contributions. Not long after the $45 billion deal was proposed last year, the company's notorious customer service army proceeded to produce a series of ill-timed public-relations debacles. Given that the nation's largest cable provider was planning an alliance with the only company that ranked even lower on last year's American Consumer Satisfaction Index, such setbacks were somewhat predictable.
April 29, 2015 |
Growing up in the Palpa district of Nepal, Rina Lama remembers childhood holidays spent at her father's home in a remote farmland village. She recalls walls covered in pictures, and family heirlooms. Afternoons spent chasing animals on her farm, and working around a house that meant "more to us than gold. " On Saturday, that house - one that was home for seven generations of Lama's family - collapsed, crushing and killing her aunt. Lama, from her home in Philadelphia, learned that the woman was among at least 16 other relatives believed to have died in the earthquake that killed thousands - and left millions homeless and confused.
March 13, 2015 |
LOOKING FOR a really cheap deal for Internet access to help your schoolkids get their homework done? You can't do better than the free offer Comcast is extending for its Internet Essentials (5GB) Web service to low-income Philadelphia families with school-age children. The deal will deliver a decent broadband connection (5 Mps) to homes for six months for free. After that, the price goes up to $10 a month. The deadline for signing up is May 31. Newly pitched to parents in letters home from the school district and sure to be a burning topic at Wednesday's Family Literacy Night at 440 N. Broad St., helmed by Superintendent William Hite, the offer comes in the wake of Comcast's fourth annual review of the national Internet Essentials program designed to increase computer access and literacy.
September 25, 2014 |
Pennsylvania has redefined the concept of the snow day, announcing that schools can offer "cyber days" when kids can't make it into the classrooms. In other words, some students can kiss snow days goodbye. For up to five days a year, the "Flexible Instructional Days" pilot program will allow schools in all 501 school districts, including Philadelphia, to use nontraditional instruction methods, such as cyber school, when bad weather or other emergencies shut down school buildings.
January 16, 2014 |
Verizon Communications Inc. won a partial victory Tuesday from a federal appeals court in the long-running fight over how the government regulates broadband Internet providers. But the battle - which could affect consumers' access to a wide variety of websites and services - is far from done, according to telecommunications experts and advocates on both sides of the issue. Verizon, a leading provider of landline and wireless phone service as well as Internet access, accused the Federal Communications Commission of overreaching in its 2010 "Open Internet" order, which barred broadband providers from discriminating against or blocking any data distributed over their networks - a goal of those advocating a concept also known as network neutrality.
April 23, 2013 |
In 2013, having access to the Internet seems to be the norm, but for nearly half of Philadelphians, that's not the case. They can't surf the Web, connect with friends online, or check their e-mail because they don't have Internet at home. Research has indicated that more than 41 percent of city residents lack Internet access, and on Monday FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn announced at the Central Library of the Free Library of Philadelphia that she is frustrated with this digital divide.
April 19, 2013 |
Cyber charter schools, watch out. The Philadelphia School District is coming for your students. Come September, the district - pending School Reform Commission approval Thursday night - will launch the Philadelphia Virtual Academy, an online school for city sixth through 12th graders. The move could net the financially distressed district millions of dollars. This year, about 6,000 city students are enrolled in cyber charters, at a cost to the school system of about $60 million.
March 7, 2013
DO YOU NEED cheap Internet access, an affordable laptop or computer classes? How about all of the above? Here's a road map for bridging the digital divide. Say you need to get online ASAP. For free. * There are 79 free computer labs (a/k/a "Keyspots") in Philadelphia, where you can take computer classes or just go online. Get more information at 3-1-1, 215-851-1990, phillykeyspots.org or @Phillykeyspots on Twitter. * The Free Library of Philadelphia offers Internet access at many branches.
March 7, 2013 |
Comcast Corp. says 5,700 low-income families in the Philadelphia area are now participating in a discounted Internet service the cable giant agreed to offer as part of its merger with NBCUniversal. Throughout the nation, 150,000 families have gone online with the program, Comcast said Tuesday. The service costs $9.95 a month, and participants can buy computers for $150. Comcast says 15,000 customers have bought them. Internet Essentials is available to parents with children who qualify for the federal free-lunch program, though families with past-due Comcast bills may not participate.