Comcast commits $3.5 million to digital fairness causes

Comcast raised more than $ 40 million in cash for its digital equity purposes last year, including new grants of $ 3.5 million to help bridge the digital divide.

Comcast today announced $ 3.5 million for partners including CodePath, Genesys Works, Jobs for the Future, NPower, IC Stars, Opportunity at Work, Goodwill, YWCA, and Philadelphia Youth Network.

The Philadelphia-based internet provider also plans to accelerate its grant activities in 2021 as more Lift Zone Community Center locations become available in over 1,000 locations across the country.

The program aims to close the prosperity gap in Internet access, promote digital literacy and close the so-called homework gap. The new and expanded efforts are designed to help connect as many Americans as possible to the Internet and create new opportunities for underrepresented communities through the education, resources, and skills they need to succeed in today’s digital economy.

Dave Watson, Comcast Cable CEO, said in a statement that the company has focused for more than a decade on addressing inequalities in communities with limited resources through the Internet Essentials program, but that the need is now greater.

Above: Comcast Internet Essentials giveaway for Strawberry Mansion High School on Friday, August 31, 2020 in Philadelphia.

Photo credit: Joy Asico / Comcast

Comcast redoubled its efforts in 2020 when COVID-19 highlighted the gap in internet access for children who had to remotely connect to do their schoolwork.

Since 2011, Comcast has connected millions of people to the Internet at home. donated tens of thousands of free laptops to students and families across the country; and invested $ 700 million in digital literacy, training and awareness programs that have reached 11 million people.

Comcast is now doubling the program’s internet download speed to 50 megabits per second (Mbit / s) and increasing the upstream speed to 5 Mbit / s for all new and existing customers at no additional cost. To maintain the increased internet speeds, you must Do nothing to existing customers, and the new speeds will roll out nationwide starting March 1st.

This is the sixth time in 10 years that Comcast has increased broadband speeds for Internet Essentials customers while keeping the cost of the service at $ 9.95 per month. Comcast has also made its xFi and xFi Advanced Security product features available to Internet Essentials customers free of charge. The company continues to offer 60 days of free service to all new Internet Essentials customers who sign up before June 30, 2021.

Above: Comcast accelerated its investment in elevator zones.

Photo credit: Comcast

Comcast recently announced a multi-year program to create more than 1,000 elevator zones in community centers across the country in partnership with its network of thousands of nonprofit partners and city guides. To date, Comcast has installed several hundred lift zones to further fill the homework gap. Elevator Zones provide students with secure spaces to access free WiFi so they can participate in distance learning and complete their schoolwork. Comcast is now accelerating that schedule to connect 1,000 lift zones by the end of this year – more than a year ahead of its original plan.

Comcast is also expanding its targeted philanthropic investments in organizations that work to increase digital equity and contribute to the collective action needed to drive sustainable change. These new organizations and investments aim to create better avenues for color community opportunities, especially in the media, technology, art and entrepreneurship sectors.

Since last year, Comcast has provided more than $ 40 million in cash to education and equity-focused partners who share the company’s goals of promoting social justice and equality. These partners include Per Scholas, Coded by Kids, the Center for Black Innovation, Inner-City Arts, and Build.org.

Together, Comcast and its partners are helping more colored people acquire the education and critical workforce development skills necessary to access career opportunities in media and technology.

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