With distance and hybrid learning the new norm, students who don't have high-speed internet service at home are at a distinct disadvantage.

With that in mind, the New Bedford Public Schools have partnered with Comcast to provide six months of broadband access to eligible families, the school district has announced.

Superintendent Thomas Anderson praised the corporation's "Internet Essentials Program" and said it is a "means to help provide equity for students no matter their economic status."

“It is vital that we do all we can to ensure that our students have the tools and the access they need to continue learning remotely in the distance platform," Anderson said in a statement. "We appreciate and thank Comcast for their support and look forward to this partnership as it will be a tremendous benefit to our students.”

The program helps make sure all students are connected for school at home, said Tim Kelly, Comcast's vice president of government affairs for the Boston region.

“We are committed to closing the digital divide for low-income Americans so that they can enjoy success at school, at work and in their communities, and we are proud to work with the New Bedford School District to help achieve that goal," Kelly said.

New Bedford Public Schools will contact eligible families to connect them to the program. NBPS families who believe they qualify should contact their school principal.

Applicants not served by New Bedford Public Schools can go to www.internetessentials.com. In addition, there are two dedicated phone numbers at 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.

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