CHICAGO – Chicago’s new mayor, Rahm Emanuel, announced a partnership with Comcast that will provide access to high-speed Internet service for the families of 330,000 students when the schools reopen in the fall.

“Having access to high-speed Internet service allows children to do schoolwork, adults to find jobs and grow the city’s economy, and families to learn and explore together,” Emanuel said. “The Internet Essentials program is a perfect example of the city’s government and business community working together to craft innovative, competitive solutions to the important problems facing our citizens.”

The partnership between the City of Chicago and Comcast – the first of its kind in the nation – offers families of students who receive free lunches at the Chicago Public Schools access to broadband Internet at home at a reduced rate of $9.95 per month and also provides them with computers for $150. The program will not include any installation or service fees.

Mayor Emanuel said Internet Essentials was only part of a comprehensive plan to increase the availability of technology to the citizens of Chicago. The plan includes education and training as well as access to Internet services. Many of the city’s libraries are participating in training and awareness programs, as well as business courses designed to promote technology resources to Chicago residents. Comcast estimates that for every one percent increase in broadband adoption in Chicago, the city will see an additional 1,000 to 3,000 jobs.