Comcast has made several announcements that build on its longstanding commitment to advancing digital equity, closing the digital divide, and addressing both digital literacy and the homework gap. The new and expanded efforts are designed to help connect as many Americans to the Internet as possible and create new opportunities for underrepresented communities through the education, resources, and skills training they need to succeed in today’s digital economy.
“We’ve been on a mission to address digital inequities in under-resourced communities through Internet Essentials for a decade and there’s never been a greater need than now,” said Dave Watson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Comcast Cable. “As a media and technology company, we have a unique opportunity to provide a meaningful connection to the communities we serve – whether that’s through access to the Internet, programs to support creativity and digital literacy and skills training for young people, or workforce development opportunities for adults.
In 2020, Comcast redoubled those efforts, as COVID-19 shined an even brighter light on this important equity issue in our society. And at the onset of 2021 – which coincides with the 10th anniversary of its Internet Essentials program – the company is once again advancing its digital equity commitment.
Accelerating the Nation’s Largest Broadband Adoption Program.
For more than a decade, Comcast has focused on connecting millions of low-income families to the Internet through Internet Essentials, the largest and most comprehensive low-cost Internet adoption program for low-income Americans. Since 2011, Comcast has connected millions of people to the Internet at home, donated tens of thousands of free laptops to students and families across the country, and invested $700 million in digital literacy, skills training and awareness programs that have reached 11 million people. The new speeds will be rolled out nationally beginning March 1. This is the sixth time in 10 years that Comcast has increased broadband speeds for Internet Essentials customers while keeping the cost of the service at $9.95 a month. The company continues to offer 60 days of free service to any new Internet Essentials customer who signs up before June 30, 2021.
Comcast recently announced a multi-year program to launch more than 1,000 Lift Zones in community centers across the country by working with its network of thousands of nonprofit partners and city leaders. So far, Comcast has installed several hundred Lift Zones to further address the homework gap. Lift Zones provide safe spaces for students to access free WiFi so they can participate in distance learning and do their schoolwork.
“Transforming our Boys & Girls Clubs into Lift Zones has made a huge difference in the lives of the students we serve in Philadelphia,” said Lisabeth Marziello, President & CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia. “Many of the kids who come to our clubs either don’t have the Internet at home or they have it, but they can’t study at home for a variety of reasons and they need somewhere to go.
This year Comcast is busy working to advance digital equity, closing the digital divide, and addressing both digital literacy and the homework gap. For more information on the digital equity efforts Comcast Digital Equity Press Release.