Comcast To Fund African-American Broadband Initiative

The Comcast Foundation said it will make a $50,000 grant to the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) in an effort to foster greater adoption of broadband Internet services within African American homes.

The NBCSL/Comcast Broadband Legislative Fellowship will help spearhead efforts to reverse what is a a disproportionate rate of broadband accessibility and adoption among African American communities. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project's 2009 "Home Broadband Adoption" study and the "Broadband Imperatives for African Americans" report spearheaded by NBCSL and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, only 46% of African-American homes had a broadband Internet connection in the home in 2009, a slight gain over 2008 numbers but below the 63% of all adult Americans that have broadband connections.

The recommendations developed by the Fellowship will further direct the efforts of NBCSL in authoring recommendations to Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as they develop national and local solutions to alleviate disparities in broadband access, adoption, and use.

"There's no reason why America can't become the most connected nation on earth, but to do so it will take hard work and leadership," said Comcast Executive Vice President David L. Cohen in a statement. "Comcast is proud to partner with NBCSL to continue progress toward a connected America that includes all of its communities."

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.