Comcast‌ ‌Announces‌ ‌Plans‌ ‌to‌ ‌‘Accelerate’‌ ‌Digital‌ ‌Equity‌ ‌Efforts‌ ‌

February 8, 2021 by Reece Nations
Comcast‌ ‌Announces‌ ‌Plans‌ ‌to‌ ‌‘Accelerate’‌ ‌Digital‌ ‌Equity‌ ‌Efforts‌ ‌

PHILADELPHIA — Comcast announced the company would escalate its commitment to address digital equity by closing the digital divide through addressing digital literacy and the homework gap.

Since 2011, Comcast has facilitated the largest low-cost Internet adoption program for low-income Americans, known as “Internet Essentials,” according to a release. 

Additionally, the company has donated tens of thousands of free laptops to students and families across the country over the years and invested $700 million in digital literacy, skills training initiatives, and awareness programs. 

The issue of reliable internet access for students from low-income families is longstanding but was exacerbated by the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to the Pew Research Center. In March 2020, Pew found that roughly 58% of 8th grade students in the United States use their at-home internet to do homework “every day or almost every day.” 

Further, Pew’s analysis found the issue of school-age children lacking the connectivity they need to complete schoolwork at home is more a prominent problem among Black, Hispanic and low-income households. Around 35% of households containing schoolchildren between the ages of 6 to 17 with an income below $30,000 annually lack at-home high-speed internet connections, compared to only 6% of households with $75,000 or more in annual income. 

“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,” Comcast Cable President and CEO Dave Watson said in a written statement. “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. Our commitment has never been stronger, and we are dedicated to leveling the playing field and making a lasting impact for generations to come.” 

Comcast will increase its download speeds up to 50 megabits per second and its upload speeds up to 5 megabits per second at no cost for all new and existing Internet Essentials customers, according to a company release. The company will continue to offer 60 days of free service to new Internet Essentials customers who enroll before June 30, 2021. 

In addition, Comcast plans to accelerate its multi-year program offering safe spaces for students participating in distance learning to access free WiFi, known as “Lift Zones.” Comcast plans to establish 1,000 Lift Zones by the end of the year by partnering with Boys & Girls Clubs of America. 

“Transforming our Boys & Girls Clubs into Lift Zones has made a huge difference in the lives of the students we serve in Philadelphia,” Lisabeth Marziello, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia, said in a written statement. “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. We’re so happy to be able to work with Comcast to give our students a safe, clean space where they can stay in school even when schools are closed.” 

Comcast will also expand its philanthropic investments in “organizations working to increase digital equity” by investing $3.5 million with partners including CodePath, Genesys Works, Jobs for the Future, NPower, Opportunity at Work, Goodwill Industries International, YWCA and the Philadelphia Youth Network. This commitment is part of more than $40 million in investments to companies that “share the company’s goals of advancing social justice and equality.”

The company has also invested in Per Scholas, Coded by Kids, Center for Black Innovation, Inner-City Arts, and BUILD.org as part of its commitment to combat digital inequities. These efforts are aimed at generating pathways in media, technology, arts, and entrepreneurship for poor and underserved communities and communities of color. 

“Comcast’s investment in CodePath will help us double our impact to reach nearly 5,000 students and over 60 university partners in 2021,” Michael Ellison, co-founder and CEO of CodePath, said in a written statement. “As disadvantaged communities struggle with mass job losses in the wake of the pandemic, our courses are one of the few holistic programs placing thousands of underrepresented minorities into our nation’s most competitive technical roles. Through partnerships with CodePath and many other dedicated organizations, Comcast continues to demonstrate its commitment to creating tangible and systemic change, while providing new opportunities for people of color in the tech sector and beyond.” 

A+
a-
  • Comcast
  • digital equity
  • digital literacy
  • low-cost Internet
  • In The News

    Health

    Voting

    Business

    May 16, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    Federal, State Agency Collaboration Speeds Recovery From Baltimore’s Key Bridge Collapse

    WASHINGTON — Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg remembers Monday, March 25, as being like any other night. The last thing he... Read More

    WASHINGTON — Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg remembers Monday, March 25, as being like any other night. The last thing he did before going to sleep that night was put his cellphones on a dresser across from his bed, “so I’m not tempted to keep myself awake... Read More

    Tractor-Trailers With No One Aboard? The Future Is Near for Self-Driving Trucks on US Roads

    PITTSBURGH (AP) — On a three-lane test track along the Monongahela River, an 18-wheel tractor-trailer rounded a curve. No one... Read More

    PITTSBURGH (AP) — On a three-lane test track along the Monongahela River, an 18-wheel tractor-trailer rounded a curve. No one was on board. A quarter-mile ahead, the truck's sensors spotted a trash can blocking one lane and a tire in another. In less than a second,... Read More

    Exxon Mobil Profit Declines in 1st Quarter as Natural Gas Prices Fall

    Exxon Mobil's profit declined in its first quarter as natural gas prices fell and industry refining margins dropped. The energy... Read More

    Exxon Mobil's profit declined in its first quarter as natural gas prices fell and industry refining margins dropped. The energy company earned $8.22 billion, or $2.06 per share, for the three months ended March 31. A year earlier it earned $11.43 billion, or $2.79 per share.... Read More

    Volkswagen Revamps Its Approach in China in Bid to Overtake Upstart EV Makers

    BEIJING (AP) — As auto giant Volkswagen AG races to catch up with upstart Chinese competitors, it has drivers like 26-year-old Ren... Read More

    BEIJING (AP) — As auto giant Volkswagen AG races to catch up with upstart Chinese competitors, it has drivers like 26-year-old Ren Yiling in mind. She is young and wants to play video games in her car. The digital features of her Zeekr 001, a European-designed electric car... Read More

    April 22, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    Moderna Suspends Construction on Kenyan Manufacturing Facility

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Moderna said it has paused efforts to build an mRNA manufacturing facility in Kenya due to uncertainty... Read More

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Moderna said it has paused efforts to build an mRNA manufacturing facility in Kenya due to uncertainty over the future demand for COVID-19 vaccines in Africa. According to a statement posted on the drugmaker’s website last week, demand for the vaccines has declined... Read More

    April 22, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    GSA Urged to Prioritize Equity in Procurement as Feds Move to Electrify Fleet

    WASHINGTON — Two key Black associations in the energy and construction fields are urging the General Services Administration to ensure... Read More

    WASHINGTON — Two key Black associations in the energy and construction fields are urging the General Services Administration to ensure equity in its procurement processes as the government moves to electrify its vehicle fleet. In a letter to GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan, the leaders of the... Read More

    News From The Well
    scroll top