Comcast to invest $1 billion over next 10 years to reach 50 million low-income Americans
On the 10th anniversary of its Internet Essentials program, Comcast announced it will invest $1 billion over the next 10 years to further close the digital divide and give more low-income Americans the needed tools and resources to succeed in an increasingly digital world.
Collaborating with its network of thousands of nonprofit partners for 10 years, Comcast has connected broadband Internet at home in America to more than 10 million people, the overwhelming majority of whom were not connected prior to signing up.
“Ten years is a remarkable milestone, signifying an extraordinary amount of collaboration with our incredible community partners across Utah,” said Deneiva Knight, director of external affairs at Comcast. “Together, we have been able to connect tens of thousands of Utahns to the power of the Internet at home and to the endless opportunity, education, growth, and discovery it provides. Today, we are rededicating ourselves to this mission to ensure the next generation of students in Utah has the tools, resources, and abilities to succeed in an increasingly digital world.”
Comcast’s $1 billion commitment will include investments in several critical areas, including additional support for the Lift Zone initiative, which establishes WiFi-connected safe spaces in 35 community centers in Utah and 1,000+ community centers nationwide for students and adults by the end of 2021; new laptop and computer donations; grants for nonprofit community organizations to create opportunities for low-income Utahns, particularly in media, technology, and entrepreneurship; and continued investment in the company’s landmark Internet Essentials program. These new commitments will impact an estimated 50 million Americans over the next 10 years, including hundreds of thousands of Utahns. In 2021 alone, Comcast estimates students across America will complete more than 25 million hours of remote learning lessons to further address the “homework gap” at the hundreds of Lift Zone locations that have already opened or will open soon.
“Comcast’s investment in Utah’s digital connectivity future is remarkable,” said Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox. “Helping to close the digital divide so everyone has Internet access in Utah is paramount.”
The effects of the pandemic have permeated all levels of learning and access to resources for many Utahns. One group facing challenges is U.S. refugees.
“The International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Salt Lake City has been partnering with Comcast for a few years now and it’s been an incredible partnership. We’ve been using Internet Essentials for our clients for many years,” said Krysti Nellermore, IRC education program supervisor. “Comcast expanded [the program] in the last year which has been a great opportunity for more of our clients to use the program.”
Abderahim Idriss and his family of eight — living in Utah — are one of those families. Before relocating to the U.S., Idriss was a teacher. Now he works on a packing production line but would like to find a job teaching again at some point.
“[Internet Essentials] really helped us. My wife and I are able to find a lot more videos for English practice, and the kids are able to do research for school. It has made a lot more things accessible for us,” said Abderahim Idriss.
“From its beginning, Comcast’s Internet Essentials program has transformed more than 8 million lives by connecting low-income households to the power of broadband,” said Knight. “While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has placed a spotlight on the digital divide, for the past decade Comcast has been leading the effort to close the digital divide, address the homework gap, and ensure low-income communities have the necessary digital skills.”
Comcast’s 10-year progress report highlights other key metrics about the Internet Essentials program, including having:
- Increased the program’s Internet speeds six times, from 1.5 Mbps in 2011 to 50 Mbps today, without ever-increasing the price of the program, which has remained at $9.95/month
- Launched its Lift Zones program, which will connect 35 Utah community centers with free WiFi by the end of 2021;
- Developed an Internet Essentials Partnership Program that has signed up 160,000 individuals throughout Utah, including schools, school districts, and other organizations that have helped connect tens of thousands of students to the Internet during the pandemic;
- Offered 60 days of free Internet service to new Internet Essentials customers who needed to get online during the coronavirus outbreak;
- Expanded the number of languages our Internet Essentials call center agents can speak to more than 240, plus American Sign Language, to help ensure we break down language barriers that can prevent people from applying or getting online;
- Built-up an online learning center that includes more than 200 digital literacy training videos, guides, and reports that are free to anyone to use, including non-customers; and
- Developed an employee network of 3,000 Internet Essentials Ambassadors who volunteer their time to help spread the word about the program in their communities.
Additionally, Comcast will continue to offer 60 days of free Internet service to new Internet Essentials customers who sign up before June 30, 2021.
About Internet Essentials
Internet Essentials is Comcast’s signature digital equity initiative and the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program. In 10 years, it has helped connect 10 million low-income Americans to broadband Internet at home, most for the very first time. Internet Essentials has a comprehensive design that addresses each of the three major barriers to broadband adoption. This includes multiple options to access free digital literacy training in print, online, and in-person; the option to purchase a heavily subsidized, low-cost Internet-ready computer; and low-cost, high-speed Internet service for $9.95 a month, plus tax. The program is structured as a partnership between Comcast and tens of thousands of school districts, libraries, elected officials, and nonprofit community partners. Comcast has never raised the price of the program. For more information about Internet Essentials and Comcast’s commitment to education and digital equity, please visit https://corporate.comcast.com/education. To apply, visit www.internetessentials.com or call 1-855-846-8376 for English or 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.
About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company that connects people to moments that matter. We are principally focused on broadband, aggregation, and streaming with over 56 million customer relationships across the United States and Europe. We deliver broadband, wireless, and video through our Xfinity, Comcast Business, and Sky brands; create, distribute, and stream leading entertainment, sports, and news through Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, Universal Studio Group, Sky Studios, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, Peacock, NBC News, NBC Sports, Sky News, and Sky Sports; and provide memorable experiences at Universal Parks and Resorts in the United States and Asia. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.