Last Friday, October 28th, Comcast hosted a Digital Equity Summit in San Francisco, gathering more than 100 executives, program directors, community leaders, public officials, and other key stakeholders from around the Golden State working to close the digital divide and create digital equity. The summit highlighted best practices, explored the current and future needs of vulnerable communities, and identified challenges, solutions, and available funding resources. The summit also served as a moment to celebrate the work of Comcast’s valued digital equity partners across California, who worked throughout the pandemic to help drive Internet adoption and provide digital literacy training for those in need.
In addition, Comcast announced that it has exceeded its expanded goal to launch 1,250 Lift Zones before the end of this year. Comcast’s Lift Zones program provides free WiFi access in neighborhood community centers nationwide. Since September 2020, Lift Zones have enabled nearly 6 million free WiFi user sessions for students, veterans, seniors, and adults.
According to a consumer survey of users who visited a Lift Zone:
- 4 in 10 report they would not have had Internet access without the Lift Zone.
- 50% of low-income households in major Comcast markets are within walking distance of a Lift Zone.
- 58% of Lift Zone users strongly believe that the site helps them achieve more.
- 58% report the Lift Zone reduces stress with studying, working remotely, and/or managing tasks online.
- 56% say the Lift Zone is critical for success at school, work, and/or managing tasks online.
- 92 percent of sites report that being a Lift Zone helps them increase digital equity in their communities.
The Lift Zones program is part of Comcast’s Project UP – a comprehensive initiative to advance digital equity and build a future of unlimited possibilities. Backed by a $1 billion commitment, Project UP will help reach tens of millions of people with the skills, resources, and opportunities needed to succeed in a digital world.
“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity right now to help connect the unconnected,” said Broderick Johnson, EVP Digital Equity and EVP Public Policy, Comcast Corporation. “Working together between Comcast, our nonprofit partners, and the state and federal government, we will connect more households to the Internet and help even more people take advantage of critical resources such as the federal Affordable Connectivity Program and digital skills training.”
“Comcast’s continued partnership and dedication to our communities have resulted in allowing more students, children, seniors, and families to get connected to the Internet, “said San Francisco Mayor London Breed. “Public-private partnerships like these allow us to ensure that all of our communities have access to services they need to thrive.”
Comcast’s Lift Zones were initially created in partnership with city leaders and nonprofit partners to help keep students connected to schools during the early stages of the pandemic. These digital navigators helped countless communities at a time when they needed it the most. Even as students return to their classrooms, Comcast continues to see strong demand for Lift Zones that serve underrepresented populations and offer an array of digital literacy programs, access to online healthcare services, workforce development training, and digital navigator support.
“Thanks to Comcast, we’ve been able to connect many of our families to the Internet with high-speed WiFi to support a dynamic learning environment for their children,” said Gloria Corral, President and CEO of Parent Institute for Quality Education. “Today’s Digital Equity Summit confirms Comcast’s commitment to the communities we serve. I am eager to see how today’s conversation will improve and help support the lives of the children and families.”
In addition to the Lift Zone program, which earlier this year won SXSW’s “People’s Choice Award,” Comcast is proud to participate in the Federal Government’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). ACP provides eligible households with a $30/month subsidy that can be applied toward their Internet service. When used to pay for Comcast’s Internet Essentials service, home broadband Internet is effectively free.
Powered by a Comcast Business solution, more than 150 Lift Zones have been installed across California. To find a Lift Zone near you, please visit: https://internetessentials.com/learningsearchpage and for additional information on Project UP, please visit corporate.comcast.com/impact/project-up.