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City of Philadelphia Launches “PHLConnectED”

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Read the full press release here.

Coalition of Business, Nonprofit, Philanthropic, and Civic Leaders Partner with the City to Provide Support

The City of Philadelphia today announced PHLConnectED, a collaboration to connect up to 35,000 low-income K-12 student households with internet service and laptops. The program, which will also provide digital skills training and tech support for families, is an urgent response to schools moving to virtual learning in the upcoming academic year as a result of the global pandemic.

A broad coalition of businesses, schools, and civic leaders has come together to support the initiative and additional partners are expected to join. Initial partners include:

  • City of Philadelphia
  • School District of Philadelphia
  • Select Charter Schools, including Mastery Schools, KIPP Charter Schools, Esperanza Charter Schools, Boys Latin Charter School, Independence Charter School, Philadelphia Charters for Excellence, Richard Allen Prep Charter
  • Comcast Corporation and Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation
  • Lenfest Foundation
  • Neubauer Family Foundation
  • Philadelphia School Partnership
  • William Penn Foundation
  • Philadelphia Housing Authority 

The three core components of PHLConnectED (pronounced P-H-L Connected) include:

  • Free wired, high-speed, reliable broadband internet to the home from Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, or a high-speed mobile hotspot for families who are housing-insecure or need a portable option
  • Distribution of devices, such as chromebooks, tablets, or computers (devices have already been paid for and procured through the School District, some Charters, and private funds.)
  • Free skill training and tech support for students, families, and teachers to ensure they not only get connected, but also stay connected and safely take full advantage of all that the Internet has to offer. 

PHLConnectED is part of the first stage of the City’s larger digital equity initiative that supports internet adoption and digital literacy skill development for all Philadelphia residents. 

Eligibility for this program is designed to ensure that families with the greatest need for internet service are prioritized. The first phase is focused on connecting K-12 student households who currently do not have any internet access or who only have mobile phone access and/or who are homeless or housing insecure. These student households are being identified by the Philadelphia School District, the Charter Schools Office, other schools, and internet service providers.

Eligible households will be contacted by their school directly through direct mail, email, calls, and/or text messages later this month. Partners are working to quickly set up PHLConnectED and will share additional details about the initiative within the next few weeks. More information will be regularly updated at

This phase of PHLConnectED will cost $17.1 Million over two years to implement, this means $9.1 Million in year one and $8 Million in year two. Philanthropic partners are generously contributing over $11 million, the City is contributing $2 million from CARES Act funding, and the remaining costs will be shared among the School District, charter, independent mission and private schools, as well as other donations. Individuals interested in contributing to this effort, are invited to donate at

Via the Phildelphia Inquirer: Free internet coming for 35,000 Philly families: city, schools, Comcast to spend $17M on digital equity plan
Via The Notebook: City launches program to provide free internet access to 35,000 families


For more information contact:
At the City of Philadelphia:
At the School District of Philadelphia: