The celebration of National Digital Inclusion Week (Oct. 4-8) is a reminder of the importance of digital literacy and access in achieving equity in the modern digital world. As we’ve seen since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital access and adoption are critical in keeping people connected to the world around them, and for many students and families, it is one of the most important keys to success. To further achieve digital equity and access for everyone, Comcast announced the launch of Project UP, a digital equity initiative backed by a $1 billion commitment to help connect 50 million people to the digital access and tools needed to further their economic advancement and upward mobility.
Project UP (which stands for Unlimited Possibilities) is a comprehensive new initiative that incorporates all of Comcast’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts and investments to date under one program. The initiative encompasses the initiatives and community partnerships across Comcast, NBCUniversal and Sky that connect people to the Internet, advance economic success and open doors for the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, storytellers and creators.
Lack of internet access has been shown to be one of the most accurate determinants of educational and economic outcomes for low-income individuals and families in the twenty-first century. Fifty percent of low-income families lack access to the technology required to support online education, and it is estimated that by 2030, the demand for workers with basic digital skills will increase by 69 percent. Project UP was launched to respond to these gaps in access to achieve true digital equity and economic mobility for all.
In addition to Project UP, Comcast has recently instituted “Lift Zones” at community and educational centers across the country, including over 100 locations here in California, providing free internet access and educational tools at safe, supportive learning spaces for students to get connected online, participate in distance learning and to do their homework.
Comcast has long been committed to creating and supporting digital equity within the communities we serve, just recently celebrating the 10-year anniversary of our Internet Essentials program, the nation’s largest, most comprehensive and most successful low-income broadband initiative. Most recently, Comcast expanded this Internet Essentials program to Federal Pell Grant recipients, pledging $15 million in free internet service and equipment, including 25,000 laptops, to low-income students, families and veterans.
For more information on the Internet Essentials program or to apply, visit https://www.internetessentials.com/