Today Comcast announced plans to equip 10 Fresno Housing and Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County locations throughout the Central Valley with WiFi-connected “Lift Zones” over the coming months. By providing robust WiFi coverage at safe spaces, Comcast intends to help thousands of low-income students get online, participate in distance learning and do their homework.
“While some children can participate in distance learning at home, the children of essential workers and others may not have that privilege,” said John Gauder, Senior Vice President, Comcast California.
Comcast also announced a $50,000 donation to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County to offer distance learning to more students and another $50,000 to Fresno Housing to help residents with digital literacy training and support. In addition to providing free WiFi service at the 10 Lift Zone locations, Comcast will also provide 225 Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County youth with a laptop computer, free Internet at home for 12 months (to eligible families) through its Internet Essentials program and a box with $100 worth of food.
Clockwise: Preston Prince, CEO, Fresno Housing; Angela Hiyama, Comcast California, Government Affairs Director, Central Valley; Diane Carbray, President/CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County; Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula; Joshua “Josh” Simes, Comcast California, Area Vice President, Central Valley.
“The COVID-19 crisis continues to put many low-income students at risk of being left behind. This Comcast commitment will accelerate a solution for comprehensive, digital equity and Internet adoption programs to support them,” said Diane Carbray, President/CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County. “We hope these Lift Zones from Comcast will help students who have been unable to fully participate in the current educational experience due to constraints of distance learning or a variety of other reasons that are outside of their control.”
This initiative provides free connectivity inside partner community centers for the next three years. By donating 225 laptops and 12 months of free Internet at home, Comcast and Telemundo are creating a seamless learning experience for children in the Central Valley.
Preston Prince, CEO of Fresno Housing said, “This partnership with Comcast is coming at a critical time, when there is so much need among our communities, and will help support our ongoing broadband improvement efforts. The global pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities of color and has put numerous children at risk of missing out on important educational opportunities.”
“Too many children in low-income neighborhoods and disadvantaged rural and unincorporated areas have been left behind in their education because they don’t have access to the internet, Wi-Fi, and/or devices. I’m grateful to Comcast for its generous commitment. It is a step in the right direction to keep these children and families connected and focused on a brighter future,” said Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (District 31).
Lift Zone sites complement Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, which has helped connect more than eight million low-income people to the Internet at home. This includes more than one million residents across California, which is the number one state in terms of overall participation in the Internet Essentials program.
Earlier today, students received their laptops, the opportunity cards with their 12 months of free internet and the box of food on their way out of the Boys & Girls Club. Children and parents alike, most of who don’t have internet at home, beamed from behind the glass windows of their cars as they were met with the familiar faces of their Club staff members. During this year, families held onto the hope that they would be able to connect again, now with the help of Comcast and their communities, families can stay connected wherever they are.