WASHINGTON, March 6, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) commends Comcast for extending its "Internet Essentials" program, which provides low-income families with affordable internet services. So far, more than 1.2 million Americans now have broadband access from their homes as a result of the program. To help further close the digital divide, the company is also awarding over $1 million in grants to multiple non-profit organizations that have successfully introduced the initiative to their local communities.

"Comcast's nationally acclaimed Internet Essentials program is certainly living up to its name by providing discounted internet services to families throughout America who need this access the most," said USHCC President & CEO Javier Palomarez. "Because of this effort, the world is literally at the finger tips of countless students, and job seekers. We are pleased that this critical program has been extended indefinitely. Thanks to Comcast's visionary leadership, more students will be able to do their homework and apply to college, more parents will be able to apply for jobs online, and more Americans can enjoy the boundless potential of the internet."

According to a new study released by the FCC's National Broadband Plan, 98% of families signed up for Internet Essentials because their children needed it for school. 62% reported using the affordable internet service to find and apply for jobs, while 48% reported benefitting from the program because it allows them to self-educate from the comfort of their home.

"After a successful two and a half year debut, it's clear that extending Internet Essentials indefinitely is necessary to level the playing field for low-income families," said USHCC Chairman of the Board Marc Rodriguez. "The additional $1 million in grants will further expand the reach of the program for the millions of families that have yet to bridge the digital divide. We are proud to call Comcast a partner of the USHCC, and look forward to celebrating their future achievements as the nation's largest cable and internet services provider."

About the USHCC

Founded in 1979, the USHCC actively promotes the economic growth and development of our nation's entrepreneurs. The USHCC advocates on behalf of nearly 3.2 million Hispanic-owned businesses, that together contribute in excess of $468 billion to the American economy, each year. As the leading organization of its kind, the USHCC serves as an umbrella to more than 200 local chambers and business associations across the nation, and partners with more than 220 major corporations.

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CONTACT: Valentina Pereda USHCC Director of Communications 202-489-2932Source:United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce