Comcast Announces Multiyear Effort to Roll Out 1,000+ WiFi-Connected “Lift Zones” in Local Community Centers Nationwide
Partnership Supports the Efforts of Hundreds of Nonprofit Partners Seeking to Provide Safe Spaces for Low-Income Students to Participate in Distance Learning, Remote Working, and After-School Care
Program Begins with Hundreds of Centers Rolling Out This Year in
This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200917005596/en/
(Photo: Business Wire)
“For nearly a decade, Internet Essentials has helped to change the lives of millions of people by providing low-income families with Internet access at home,” said
The COVID-19 crisis has put many low-income students at risk of being left behind and has accelerated the need for comprehensive digital equity and Internet adoption programs to support them. Lift Zones are intended to help those students who, for a variety of reasons, may be unable to connect to distance learning at home, or who just want another place in which to study.
“What we’ve learned throughout this pandemic is that although at-home Internet connectivity is the number one barrier to remote or hybrid learning, connectivity is only one barrier that prevents our nation’s kids from logging in and participating,” said
The first 200 Lift Zones have already been identified. Several are open and others will open this year in more than a dozen cities. Examples include:
Baltimore– Harvey Johnson Community Centerat Union Baptist Church– Serves more than 50 students and community members in West Baltimorein a safe space for participating in online education, as well as in intergenerational learning classes, with access to computers and training through its cyber center.
Chicago– BUILD is one of Chicago’s leading gang intervention, violence prevention, and youth development organizations, serving nearly 3,000 young people each year. Its mission is to engage at-risk youth in schools and on the streets to help them realize their potential and contribute to their communities. BUILD focuses on hard-to-serve youth in some of Chicago’s most challenging neighborhoods.
Philadelphia– Olney Recreation Center– A 13.6-acre site with outdoor spaces and recreation building with an auditorium, gymnasium, and multipurpose rooms offering free and low-cost programming that serves approximately 1,650 neighborhood children annually.
Trenton– Catholic Youth Organization of Mercer County– Provides childcare and youth programs to approximately 1,200 children ages 8-14 from Catholic schools and parishes during the academic year.
Twin Cities– The Sanneh Foundation Distanced Learning Hub at Conway Community Centerin St. Paul, enables parents and guardians to continue to work while providing a safe space for their children during normal school hours. Sanneh hosts 140 students per day and is offering safe, socially distanced access to educational technology as well as tutoring support.
The Lift Zones initiative comes on the heels of Comcast’s recent launch of its new “Internet Essentials Partnership Program,” which focuses on enabling cities, school districts, and community-based organizations to connect large numbers of low-income students to the Internet at home to support distance learning while many schools remain closed. To date, more than 70 schools have signed up for the Partner Program, potentially benefitting nearly 200,000 students.
Additionally, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, Comcast announced in June that it will continue to offer, through the end of 2020, all new Internet Essentials customers two months of free Internet service and it will waive the requirement that customers not have back debt due so more families can apply. Comcast also continues to extend free access to its 1.5 million public Xfinity WiFi hotspots to anyone who needs them, including non-customers, through the end of 2020. These hotspots are located in public places like small businesses, parks, and transportation hubs and are in addition to the Lift Zones, which will be new, additional locations where low-income individuals and students can get online for free.
Lastly, Comcast’s Internet Essentials program also makes a range of educational resources available online for anyone to access at: www.internetessentials.com/learning. The Learning Portal provides videos and materials about topics like: Internet Basics, Online Safety and Security,