Good News in the District - PHLconnect

The PHLConnectED program prioritizes families with the greatest need for internet service. —Unsplash photo/Gabriel Benois

PHLConnectED will connect up to 35,000 K–12 student households with internet service and laptops. The program, which focuses on School District of Philadelphia and charter school students, will also provide digital skills training and support.

Eligible households will receive up to two years of internet service. Participants will not pay any out-of-pocket expenses or installation fees.

There are three core components of PHLConnectED:

• Wired, high-speed, reliable internet to the home from Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, or a high-speed mobile hotspot from T-Mobile for families who are housing-insecure.

• Distribution of devices, such as Chromebooks, tablets, or computers.

• Digital skills training and tech support.

PHLConnectED is possible thanks to collaboration among business and civic leaders who came together to support Philadelphia students.

The PHLConnectED program prioritizes families with the greatest need for internet service. We will focus on connecting K–12 families who:

• Do not have any internet access.

• Have only mobile phone internet access.

• Are homeless or housing-insecure.

Eligible households will be identified through data gathered by the Philadelphia School District of Philadelphia, the Charter Schools Office, and internet service providers. The school district or schools will reach out to these households through direct mail, email, robocalls, or text message.

PHLConnected 211 Hotline

The city has partnered with United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey to create the PHLConnectED 211 hotline. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and available in over 150 languages.

When calling, dial 2-1-1 and press option 1. You will be connected with a resource navigator. Families can expect a brief survey to help 211 resource navigators understand their needs.

The 211 hotline can:

• Provide basic information about PHLConnectED to families.

• Pre-screen callers for eligibility.

• Route them to the right school number to get a Comcast enrollment code or T-Mobile hotspot.

• Follow up to confirm that connectivity happened.

• Refer them for additional support if they need technical assistance or other supportive assistance.

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