At IFAI Family Day, Internet Access was the Name of the Game

Families swarmed the New Haven Green on Saturday, June 17 during the International Festival of Arts & Ideas (IFAI) Family Day.

Many activities were scattered throughout the green including a welcome station, crafts, games and technology observations. Local dancers and performers welcomed a growing crowd of visitors at noon, facing off in various dance competitions on the green’s KeyBank Stage. Families arrived with their lounge chairs as music from the stage could be heard across the green.

Plus, representatives from Comcast and NBC Connecticut on-air talent were at the event showing off their First Alert 1 mobile weather Jeep and giving away Despicable Me 3 souvenirs. A minion-themed photo booth was even available for lots of giggly fun.

Tom Griggs, festival interim co-executive director, said the festival was thrilled to collaborate with Comcast and NBC Connecticut to host Family Day on the New Haven Green.

“We’ve learned that our audience loves meeting their on-air talent and exploring First Alert 1, which adds to the outdoor enjoyment and festivities on the green,” Griggs said.

Festivalgoers also huddled around a canopy to learn about Comcast’s Internet Essentials program. The program—developed to connect more low-income Americans to the Internet—was a perfect component of Family Day’s wider mission.


IFAI’s Family Day setup on the New Haven Green (Photo by the author)

Created in 2011, Comcast unveiled Internet Essentials as a groundbreaking program to bridge the digital divide by offering affordable home internet service to qualified low-income families. Through the program, qualified households receive fast home internet for just $9.95 per month.

The flexible, accessible package includes no contract, no credit check or activation and equipment rental fees. At initial enrollment, families are qualified to purchase computers for just $149.99 and to receive free internet training.

Families are qualified for Internet Essentials if they:

  • Live within an area serviced by Comcast
  • Have at least one child eligible to receive free or reduced-price school lunches through the National School Lunch Program, or are recipients of HUD housing assistance
  • Have no outstanding debt to Comcast less than one year old
  • Have not subscribed to Comcast internet service within the last 90 days

Comcast representatives urged attendees to spread the word about Internet Essentials to help students and families bring internet into their homes.

Guests throughout the three-week festival have been able to stay connected to the internet through free Xfinity WiFi via Xfinity WiFi on Wheels. The service, which made its national debut at last year’s festival, comes from a customized Ford T-350 van with a 500-foot range supporting up to 3,000 users.


The New Haven Green at IFAI (Photo by the author)

That level of internet access really helps, especially when there are hundreds of people attending with more than 170 festival events to choose from.

“Having WiFi on Wheels on the New Haven Green is a great example of using our technology to benefit those attending this year’s festival,” said Michael Parker, senior vice president of Comcast’s Western New England region.

Parker said Comcast is proud to sponsor the festival in its 22nd year.

“We are committed to supporting diverse and cultural local attractions such as the festival,” he said. “We pride ourselves on bringing the most innovative products to the communities in which we serve.”

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