FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel will be visiting Philly on Monday to talk on the "digital divide" at the String Theory Charter School, located only a few blocks from the soaring Comcast Center.
Rosenworcel, a Democrat on the Federal Communications Commission, calls the gap in Internet availability between low-income schildren and more affluent children the "homework gap," reflecting the reality that many teachers now assign homework that requires Internet access. According to Rosenworcel, five million of 29 million households with school-age children don't have the Internet at home.
Philadelphia has one of the nation's largest digital divides or percentage of homes with Internet access, the Inquirer has reported.
Comcast, the city's largest publicly traded company and the nation's largest residential Internet provider, offers low-income families with school-age children a discounted $10-a-month Internet service marketed as Internet Essentials. Comcast says it has enrolled 600,000 families into Internet Essentials since the launch of the service in late 2011, though many of those families also have likely dropped out of the program.
Comcast recently said it would expand Internet Essentials to individuals or families without children in public housing.